The newly formed FBI declares war on crime, training an aggressive team of young agents to go after gangsters. Public enemy number one is Joe Keefer, played admirably by Bruce Cabot. Richard Arlen plays Mal Stevens, the FBI agent after Keefer. Throughout the spectacular manhunt, the Keefer gang desperately attempts to stay one step ahead, with Keefer even hiring a plastic surgeon to permanently alter his mug in one of the finest scenes in the film. The numerous car chases and gun fights are handled excellently by director Sam Wood. The action sequences are cut up with the de rigueur romantic plot in which Agent Stevens falls for wealthy socialite Eleanor Spencer (Virginia Bruce) after Stevens saves her from a kidnapping attempt by the Keefer gang. LET ‘EM HAVE IT will be enjoyed by FBI buffs and Golden Era crime-genre aficionados.
During the 1930s, the Hays office prevented Hollywood from using the real-life stories of crime bosses because these films would idolize real miscreants. The result was simply to change the names of the crime bosses depicted. LET ‘EM HAVE IT is based loosely on the life story of 1930s crime boss John Dillinger.
FBI helmer J. Edgar Hoover claimed that the plastic surgeon sequence had actually taken place in real life.