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:
...
Phillips Holmes ...
Robert Graham
Constance Cummings ...
...
Galloway
DeWitt Jennings ...
Captain Gleason (as De Witt Jennings)
...
Gertrude Williams
Ethel Wales ...
Katie
Clark Marshall ...
Runch
Arthur Hoyt ...
Leonard Nettleford
John St. Polis ...
Dr. Rinewulf
Paul Porcasi ...
Tony Spelvin (as Paul Porcassi)
Otto Hoffman ...
Jim Fales
John Sheehan ...
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
See  »
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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 »

Quotes

Mark Brady: An eye for an eye. That's the basis and foundation of the criminal code. Somebody's got to pay!
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Connections

Alternate-language version of Criminel (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Cryptic Shadows (Agitato Mysterioso)
(uncredited)
Music by Giuseppe Becce
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Criminally underrated!
10 October 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Criminal Code (1931) is often passed over when it comes to discussion of the films of Howard Hawks, but it's actually one of my favorites from him.

There are a lot of stagey aspects to be sure and the central love story is pretty boring, but there's just so much to love. The film experiments with sound, overlapping dialogue and using crowd noise as a plot element.

The two standout actors are Walter Huston and a pre-stardom Boris Karloff. Anytime either of them walks on screen, everyone else just evaporates. Huston does a great job making the audience love and despise his character. And Karloff is just mesmerizing as Galloway, a convict hell-bent on vengeance.

No masterpiece, but it is an early sign of Hawks' genius. And I would take it over Bringing Up Baby (1938) and His Girl Friday (1940) any day of the week.


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