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The Criminal Code (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 3 January 1931 (USA)
After a failed attempt at running for governor, D.A. Mark Brady is appointed warden of the state prison where many of the criminals he prosecuted are incarcerated.

Director:

(uncredited)

Writers:

(from the stage play by), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Robert Graham
...
...
Galloway
...
Captain Gleason (as De Witt Jennings)
...
Gertrude Williams
Ethel Wales ...
Katie Ryan
...
Runch
Arthur Hoyt ...
Leonard Nettleford
...
Dr. Rinewulf
...
Tony Spelvin (as Paul Porcassi)
...
Jim Fales
...
McManus
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Storyline

A wily D.A.(Brady) gets a 10 year conviction of a young 20 year old (Robert Graham)who he knows killed a man in self defense. Years later Brady becomes warden of the prison holding Graham. When Brady realizes that 6 years of working in the prison jute mill has pushed Graham to the breaking point, he gives him a chance- a new job as his valet. Graham responds well and earns the respect of both the warden and his beautiful daughter. Graham's mettle is put to the test when he stumbles onto a prison murder committed by his cell-mate. He must choose between the criminal code of silence and the warden's strong persuasion to reveal the killer. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 January 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Codice penale  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 2 October 1929 and closed in March 1930 after 173 performances. The opening night cast included Arthur Byron as Brady, Russell Hardie as Graham, Anita Kerry as Mary Brady, Burr Caruth, Ethel Griffies and Walter Kingsford. Galloway was played by Henry Crossen. See more »

Goofs

Robert calculates there are 52,560 hours in six years. However, he forgets leap years with their extra day. So, in a span of six years there would actually be 52,584 or 52,608 hours, depending on if that period included one or two leap years. See more »

Quotes

'Mac' McManus: [Noticing that the trustee barber shaving Brady is a former cutthroat] Say, you know who that barber is.
Mark Brady: Yeah, sure I do.
'Mac' McManus: You better lay off and grow a beard!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's credits do not say that Howard Hawks directed the film; instead, they say that the film is "A Howard Hawks Production." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Evil Omens
(uncredited)
Music by Louis De Francesco
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"I'd turn the demons out of Hell for you."
29 July 2014 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Twenty year-old Robert Graham (Phillips Holmes) accidentally kills another man in a drunken brawl. District Attorney Mark Brady (Walter Huston) has to prosecute the young man, despite feeling sympathetic towards him. Graham is convicted to ten years in the state penitentiary. Six years later, D.A. Brady has been appointed warden of the prison and is appalled at what prison life has done to Graham. With help from his daughter (Constance Cummings), who falls in love with Graham, Brady gets the young man back on the right track. But all of it may come to naught when another prisoner is murdered and Graham is forced to choose between snitching and keeping quiet.

Phillips Holmes is not a name that most people, including myself, are familiar with. He retired from acting in 1938 and died in a mid-air collision in Canada four years later. This is probably his most well-known role and that's not saying much since this is hardly a well-known film. But he does a terrific job. Expectedly good performance from Walter Huston, arguably Hollywood's best actor in the early talkies. Also features Boris Karloff in one of his best pre-Frankenstein roles as a vengeful inmate who hates squealers.

Great early Howard Hawks crime drama. Nice Hawksian banter and overlapping dialogue, particularly in the early scenes with reporters. Remade twice, as Penitentiary in 1938 and Convicted in 1950. A must-see for fans of Hawks, Huston, and Karloff.


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