The version I saw of THE PEOPLE’s ENEMY (aka RAKETEERS) ran 55 minutes – the original length was 70 mins and it’s obvious quite a few scenes are missing. It didn’t help that the Alpha Video release was in poor condition.
Still, I took a chance because the two leads were played by Melvyn Douglas and Preston Foster.
Preston Foster is Vince Falcone, a racketeer up on charges of tax evasion. His ‘mouthpiece ‘ is ‘Traps’ Stuart (Melvyn Douglas) who has kept him out of jail for years.
However this time ,before a judge (Charles Coburn) only (no jury), he is sentenced to 9 years in prison.
Vince can hardly believe he’s going to prison. He tells ‘Traps’ to find his wife and child – whom he walked out on years earlier . He feels it might be handy to have them around when his parole hearing comes up.
Lila Lee plays the wife – it seems to be Lila’s scenes which were most sliced out of the film. She wants nothing to do with the gangster and she and the lawyer become close.
In prison, Vince broods about what happened and decides Stuart is to blame , especially when his brother tells him about Stuart seeing his wife.
Newspaper headlines move the plot along. Vince escapes and goes after Stuart. The ending is predictable.
So, maybe a better film than the heavily edited version I saw. Douglas and Foster were good in the leads . Charles Coburn had one scene in the court at the beginning of the film. Only his second film ( at the age of 58).