Release dateNovember 26, 1949 (1949-11-26) (US) WriterWarren Duff, Martin Rackin Music directorFriedrich Hollaender, Roy Webb CastGeorge Raft (Vince Kane), Ella Raines (Lucy Brackett), Pat O'Brien (Joe Farley), Bill Williams (Claude Brackett), Jim Backus (Police Lt. Nick Ferrone / Narrator (as James Backus)), Roland Winters (Jerry McKay) Similar moviesVirtuosity, Blood Work, Live Free or Die Hard, Cry Vengeance, End of Days, The Merchant of Four Seasons
TaglineThieves and Killers are my Clients!
A Dangerous Profession is a 1949 American film noir directed by Ted Tetzlaff, written by Warren Duff and Martin Rackin, and starring George Raft, Ella Raines, and Pat O'Brien. The supporting cast features Jim Backus.
The story begins as Police Lt. Nick Ferrone (Jim Backus) explains what bail bondsmen do and tells the viewers the setting is Los Angeles, California. One such man is Vince Kane (George Raft), a former police detective who worked with Ferrone. When one of his customers, Claude Brackett (Bill Williams), is murdered, Kane decides to investigate. He has two reasons for investigating: the curiosity of a former cop and it seems that he has fallen in love with Brackett's widow Lucy, an old flame.
George Raft as Vince Kane
Ella Raines as Lucy Brackett
Pat O'Brien as Joe Farley
Bill Williams as Claude Brackett
Jim Backus as Police Lt. Nick Ferrone
Roland Winters as Jerry McKay
Betty Underwood as Elaine Storm
Robert Gist as Roy Collins, aka Max Gibney
David Wolfe as Matthew Dawson
It was the fourth movie George Raft made for RKO following World War Two, following Johnny Angel, Nocturne and Race Street.
The film was an original script by Warren Duff and Martin Rackin called The Bail Bond Story. It was originally sought by Humphrey Bogart's company. Later Fred MacMurray optioned it for his company but he allowed the option to expire.
Eventually the script was bought by RKO who got George Raft to star. Raft was meant to star in The Big Steal but had been held up making Hounded and so was replaced by Robert Mitchum; RKO gave him this film instead. Pat O'Brien signed to co star and filming was pushed back to enable O'Brien to appear in a stage production of What Price Glory? directed by John Ford and so that Raft could go to Europe. Ted Tetzlaff agreed to direct.
Filming started in May 1949. Jean Wallace played the female lead but was fired after four days. She was replaced by Ella Raines, who was flown out from England.
The film's title was changed to A Dangerous Profession in September.
Pat O'Brien later called the film "a dog".
Raft's three previous films for RKO were profitable but this film recorded a loss of $280,000.
The New York Times gave the film a mixed review, and wrote, "Laconic and familiarly tough are the words for Raft's performance as the torch-bearing bail bonds-man. Ella Raines is decorative if little else as the object of his affections; Pat O'Brien contributes a standard portrayal as his hard business partner; James Backus is professional as a tenacious detective lieutenant and Bill Williams is adequate in the brief role of the embezzler. A Dangerous Profession, in short, proves that the bail-bond business can be dangerous and that it also can be the basis for an exceedingly ordinary adventure."