A Dangerous Profession

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.[2][3] The supporting cast features Jim Backus.

A Dangerous Profession
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTed Tetzlaff
Produced byRobert Sparks
Sid Rogell
Written byWarren Duff
Martin Rackin
StarringGeorge Raft
Ella Raines
Pat O'Brien
Narrated byJim Backus
Music byFrederick Hollander
(as Frederick Hollander)
CinematographyRobert De Grasse
Edited byFrederic Knudtson
RKO Radio Pictures
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • November 26, 1949 (1949-11-26) (US)[1]
Running time
79 minutes
CountryUnited States


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.



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.[4] Later Fred MacMurray optioned it for his company but he allowed the option to expire.[5]

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.[6][7] 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.[8][9] 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.[10]

The film's title was changed to A Dangerous Profession in September.[11]


Pat O'Brien later called the film "a dog".[12]

Box Office

Raft's three previous films for RKO were profitable but this film recorded a loss of $280,000.[13]


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."[14]


  1. "A Dangerous Profession: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  2. A Dangerous Profession on IMDb.
  3. Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 143-144
  4. HEDDA HOPPER: Letter Forms Basis of Andrews Vehicle Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]Nov 2, 1948: A6.
  5. "A Dangerous Profession". Turner Classic Movies.
  6. Albert Camus' 'Plague' Purchased for Tracy; Europe Luring Fontaine Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]Dec 23, 1948: 11.
  7. MITCHUM IN LEAD OF 'THE BIG STEAL': RKO Moves Actor Into Role Originally Given to Raft – Bank Tightens Loans By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE New York Times.. New York Times (1923–Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]Dec 23, 1948: 25
  8. LeRoy to Test French Tutor for 'Paris' Role; Gail Page in 'Lucasta' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]Feb 1, 1949: 17.
  9. By THOMAS F BRADY Special to The New York Times. (March 4, 1949). PARAMOUNT PLANS 22 MOVIES IN YEAR. New York Times (1923–Current File) Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/105736115
  10. THEDA BARA MOVIE GOES TO COLUMBIA: De Sylva's 'The Great Vampire' Will Be Distributed by Studio – 'Champion' Suit Ruling By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE New York Times.. New York Times (1923–Current file) [New York, N.Y] May 7, 1949: 10.
  11. Of Local Origin New York Times (1923–Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]Sep 13, 1949: 37.
  12. Aaker, Everett (2013). George Raft: The Films. McFarland. p. 143. ISBN 9780786466467.
  13. Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016
  14. The New York times. Film review, "A Dangerous Profession, With George Raft Playing a Bail Bondsman", December 12, 1949. Last accessed: January 18, 2008.
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