AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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711 Ocean Drive
Alternate Title: Blood Money
Director: Joseph M. Newman (Dir)
Release Date:   Jul 1950
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 19 Jul 1950
Duration (in mins):   102
Duration (in feet):   9,149
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Cast:   Edmond O'Brien (Mal Granger)  
    Joanne Dru (Gail Mason)  
    Otto Kruger (Carl Stephans)  
    Barry Kelley (Vince Walters)  
    Dorothy Patrick (Trudy Maxwell)  
    Donald Porter (Larry Mason)  
    Howard St. John (Lt. Pete Wright)  
    Robert Osterloh (Gizzi)  
  And introducing Sammy White (Chippie Evans)  
    Bert Freed (Marshak)  
    Carl Milletaire (Joe Gish)  
    Charles La Torre (Rocco)  
    Fred Aldrich (Peterson)  
    Charles Jordan (Tim)  
    Sidney Dubin (Mendel Weiss)  

Summary: Lt. Pete Wright and his partner, members of the Los Angeles police gangster squad, set out for Las Vegas to arrest Mal Granger on a murder charge. While they drive, Wright reflects on Granger's downfall: Granger works for the telephone company and supplements his meager salary by betting on the horse races. Chippie Evans, his bookie, suggests that Granger could make even more money by using his electronic expertise to help Vince Walters, the owner of a racing wire that furnishes bookmakers with the results of every race direct from the track. Walters, who wants to expand his network throughout the state of California, offers Granger a good salary to set up and maintain an expanded system. Granger is also drawn to the arrangement by the presence of Trudy Maxwell, Walters' attractive assistant. Meanwhile, Wright is assigned to the newly established gangster squad and investigates Walters' organization, which is suspected of being a front for illegal gambling. One day, while signaling the changing odds of a race, which are then transmitted to Walters, Trudy is arrested and then banned from the track. Granger keeps refining the signaling process and eventually, is able to pressure Walters into making him a partner. When Walters is killed by a member of his gang, Granger takes over his position. After his success attracts the attention of an eastern syndicate, Larry Mason and his attractive wife Gail are sent to Los Angeles to make an offer to Granger. At first, Granger refuses to join the syndicate, but Carl Stephans, the head of the syndicate, successfully uses the flirtatious Gail as bait, and Granger later announces the partnership to his bookies. The syndicate demands protection money from the bookies, and those who refuse are terrorized. Disgusted, Trudy reveals that the syndicate is cheating Granger. Granger, who has fallen in love with Gail, then plots to run away with her. After Mason beats up Gail, Granger hires a man named Gizzi to kill him. Gizzi blackmails Granger, who then runs him off a pier. Then using a device that he invented, Granger calls Wright, pretending to be in Palm Springs, in order to establish an alibi. When Wright detects a street car whistle on the tape, however, the call is revealed to be a fake. With the help of Gail and Chippie, the unsuspecting Granger sets out to swindle the syndicate's Las Vegas bookies, but Chippie is recognized by one of them, who tips off Stephans that Granger is in Las Vegas. In the meantime, Wright identifies Granger's car as the one that killed Gizzi. When they learn that Chippie has been killed by the syndicate, Gail and Granger try to escape, but the police and the syndicate catch up with them at Boulder Dam. Gail is killed in the ensuing shootout, and Granger is arrested. 

Production Company: Essaness Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: Joseph M. Newman (Dir)
  Charles L. Smith (Asst dir)
  Jack Herzberg (Dial dir)
Producer: Frank N. Seltzer (Prod)
Writer: Richard English (Wrt)
  Francis Swann (Wrt)
Photography: Frank F. Planer (Dir of photog)
  Edward Fitzgerald (Cam op)
Art Direction: Perry Ferguson (Prod des)
Film Editor: Bert Jordan (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Howard Bristol (Set dec)
  Arnold Goode (Prop master)
Costumes: Odette Myrtil (Gowns des by)
  Athena (Gowns executed by)
  A. Teitelbaum (Furs)
  Greta Isgrigg (Women's ward)
Music: Sol Kaplan (Mus)
  Emil Newman (Mus dir)
Sound: James Gaither (Sd mixer)
Make Up: Jack Byron (Makeup artist)
  Ann Locker (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Orville Fouse (Prod mgr)
  Lt. William Burns LAPD (Tech adv)
  Edward Block (Tech adv)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Essaness Pictures Corp. 20/7/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP225

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Crime
 
Subjects (Major): Bookies
  Electricians
  Gambling
  Gangsters
  Greed
 
Subjects (Minor): Alibi
  Blackmail
  Hoover Dam (AZ and NV)
  Infidelity
  Las Vegas (NV)
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Partnership
  Police detectives
  Murder
  Romance
  Shootouts
  Syndicates (Finance)

Note: The film's working title was Blood Money . The following written statement appears before the onscreen credits: "Because of the disclosures made in this film, powerful underworld interests tried to halt production with threats of violence and reprisal. It was only through the armed protection provided by members of the Police Department in the locales where the picture was filmed that this story was able to reach the screen. To these men, and to the U.S. Rangers at Boulder Dam, we are deeply grateful." The film ends with the following written statement: "The cooperation of the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation is gratefully acknowledged."
       Although the NYT review mentions that Wisconsin's Senator Alexander Wiley, a member of the Senate Committee on Crime, appears onscreen to endorse the film, he was not seen in the viewed print. According to a 15 Jun 1950 LAT article, producer Frank Seltzer told a special Senate Crime Investigating Committee, which was conducting hearings on organized crime, that his film crew was pressured by Las Vegas gamblers to halt filming at Hoover Dam (which was formerly called Boulder Dam), Lake Mead, Palm Springs, Las Vegas and at a "prominent Los Angeles restaurant," because they were displeased by the film's depiction of the "complicated system of 'past posting.'" Seltzer claimed that he spent $77,000 constructing stage reproductions of location sites at which he was unable to shoot and that five members of the Los Angeles police gangster squad were assigned to his company. On 18 Jun 1950, LAT reported that the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce denied Seltzer's charges and responded that "The chamber urged him to revise [the script] to eliminate the falsehoods and fantasy on which it was based." According to a 12 Jun 1950 HR news item, 711 Ocean Drive was chosen by managers of the seven television stations in Southern California to test the effectiveness of television advertising, as part of a joint experiment with Columbia Pictures. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   22 Jul 1950.   
Daily Variety   12 Jul 50   p. 3.
Film Daily   14 Jul 50   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Jun 50   p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Jul 50   p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   15 Jun 1950.   
Los Angeles Times   18 Jun 1950.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   15 Jul 50   pp. 389-90.
New York Times   16 Jul 1950.   
New York Times   20 Jul 50   p. 21.
Variety   19 Jul 50   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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