A bootlegger on the run from the law hides out on a college campus. He disguises himself as a student, and soon becomes the school's star athlete and most popular man on campus.



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Cast overview:
Jimmy Dorgan
Dorothy Evans
Joe Hennessey
Coach Latham
William Burke
Jack Hanlon ...
Jerry (as Jackie Hanlon)
Mrs. Dorgan
Jane Keckley ...
Mrs. Evans
Richard Carlyle ...
Dorothy Dwan


A bootlegger on the run from the law hides out on a college campus. He disguises himself as a student, and soon becomes the school's star athlete and most popular man on campus.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

college | lost film | See All (2) »


The Different College Picture!....A SMASHING DRAMA OF A "COLLEGE RACKETEER" (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »







Release Date:

April 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le suprême enjeu  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film is believed lost. Please check your attic. See more »


Just You and I
Music by Sam Perry
Lyrics by Clarence Marks
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User Reviews

Sis boom bah humbug
19 January 2003 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

The tragic life and career of James Murray (star of "The Crowd") is well known. What will never be known is the precise nature of his death at age 35 while performing a drunken busking routine on a Manhattan pier. Did he slip, fall, and drown accidentally ... or did he deliberately dive into the river and commit suicide? Eyewitness accounts only add to the confusion. In the 1970s, King Vidor considered making a movie about Murray's life and strange death: it's a pity that Vidor's film was never made. It's also a pity that "Hide-Out" DID get made.

James Murray gave several good performances in addition to "The Crowd": I found him especially impressive in "Heroes for Sale" and "The Big City". In "Hide-Out", he gives an adequate performance in an implausible film with a Prohibition background. College boy Jimmy Dorgan (Murray) gives up his college education for quick profits as a bootlegger, under a false name. Eventually he gets caught, tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison. On the way to prison under police escort, he escapes from Detective Burke (as in "berk") and runs back to college ... where he immediately picks up his academic career where he left off, as if nothing had happened. Oh, yes.

Dorgan showed no particular interest in athletics during his pre-bootleg days, but now he tries out for all the teams and becomes a star athlete. He's a brilliant quarterback, a miler, a pole vaulter, a coxswain. We hear lots of bad dialogue about how Dorgan is a natural leader of men. Why didn't these qualities surface before he turned to crime? Of course, none of the people on campus are aware of Dorgan's dark secret.

A swarthy gangster named Atlas (who knows that Dorgan is a fugitive) blackmails him into throwing a boat race so that Atlas can clean up on fixed bets. (Damon Runyon once referred to a fixed horse race as a "boat race": now I know why.) SPOILER COMING NOW. Dorgan agrees to the deal ... but at the last moment he comes honest and wins the race, knowing that he will be exposed and get sent to prison.

Meanwhile, Burke has been conducting a Javert-like search for his escaped bootlegger. (Do American police detectives really work this way?) The ending is cribbed from O. Henry's famous story "A Retrieved Reformation" (or the stage version "Alias Jimmy Valentine"). When Burke sees that Dorgan has put integrity above his personal freedom, he decides that Dorgan has truly reformed ... and he lets him go, so that Dorgan can marry his sweetheart (blandly played by Kathryn Crawford) and enjoy his new life as college hero. Yes, police detectives are always willing to jeopardise their own careers in order to do a favour for a convicted criminal.

"Hide-Out" is quite dire. Many Hollywood films with college settings create the impression that life on campus consists solely of the Big Game and the Big Dance, with no actual class work involved. "Hide-Out" is guiltier than most other movies in this respect. The college in this movie seems to consist entirely of a stadium, a changing room and sports facilities. The dialogue is wretched, made worse because of poor sound recording, limp direction and the bad diction of several actors. The film is weakly paced, the plot is barely credible: the ending is completely implausible, and made worse by the fact that it's copied from a famous story.

Worst of all is the fact that James Murray is supposed to be playing a star athlete, yet at this point Murray is already showing the weight gain and general dissipation that wrecked his career and swiftly ended his life.

I'll rate "Hide-Out" 2 points out of 10, and that's being generous.

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