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The Big Shakedown Reviews

Overblown crime melodrama starring Farrell as an unassuming druggist who gets pulled into a phony medicine scheme engineered by former bootlegger Cortez. The druggist agrees to become involved in the plan because he falls for the mobster's claims that it would be beneficial to the poor, who can buy his medicine at lower prices. Farrell's motivations aren't entirely humanitarian; he also sees the scheme as a good way to make a few extra dollars so he can marry his sweetheart, Davis. Soon after the marriage, Davis announces she's in a family way and Farrell wants out of the illegal business. A blackjack and threats against his pregnant wife persuade him to stay. Days later, Davis is rushed to the hospital in serious condition due to premature labor. She loses the baby and almost dies when some of the mobster's bogus medicine is administered unknowingly by her doctors. Farrell finally snaps, goes to the medicine factory, and shoots Cortez, who tumbles into a vat of acid. The material stretches believability at every plot turn, and the dispatching of the villain is almost too much to take without laughing.