The Secret Six (1931)

“Go ahead and shoot if you got the nerve.” A gritty, Pre-Code gangster flick from MGM, The Secret Six features a solid performance by Wallace Beery as “Louis ‘Slaughterhouse’ Scorpio,” a former stockyard worker who rises up the criminal ranks as a ruthless bootlegging gangster (loosely based on Al Capone). It’s also fun to see a young Clark Gable as cynical reporter “Carl Luckner” and brassy Jean Harlow as Scorpio’s moll “Anne Courtland.” In addition, look for Lewis Stone (best known as “Judge Hardy” in the Andy Hardy series) as Scorpio’s booze-soaked advisor/lawyer “Richard ‘Newt’ Newton” and Ralph Bellamy as rival gangster “Johnny Franks.” Oh yeah, the “secret six” of the title is this mysterious cabal of businessmen dedicated to squashing the bootlegging gang “by any means necessary.” The Secret Six was the first of six films that Gable and Harlow starred in, the other five being Red Dust (1932), Hold Your Man (1933), China Seas (1935), Wife vs. Secretary (1936) and Saratoga (1937).

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