IMDb > The Criminal Code (1931)
The Criminal Code
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Criminal Code (1931) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 10 | slideshow)


User Rating:
7.1/10   628 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Up 22% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Martin Flavin (from the stage play by)
Fred Niblo Jr. (adaptation) ...
View company contact information for The Criminal Code on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 January 1931 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
Huston and Karloff Make The Film See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Walter Huston ... Mark Brady

Phillips Holmes ... Robert Graham

Constance Cummings ... Mary Brady

Boris Karloff ... Galloway
DeWitt Jennings ... Captain Gleason (as De Witt Jennings)

Mary Doran ... Gertrude Williams
Ethel Wales ... Katie Ryan
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
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Bishop ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Andy Devine ... Cluck - a Convict with knife (uncredited)
James Guilfoyle ... Detective Doran (uncredited)

Frank Hagney ... Prison Guard in Yard (uncredited) (unconfirmed)

Al Hill ... Jerry (uncredited)

Russell Hopton ... State's Attorney (uncredited)

Harold Huber ... Convict in Yard (uncredited)
Tetsu Komai ... Convict (uncredited) (unconfirmed)

Bob Kortman ... Convict Barber (uncredited)

Harry Lamont ... Convict (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Detective Doherty (uncredited)
Nicholas Soussanin ... Convict (uncredited)
Jack Vance ... Reporter (uncredited)
Hugh Walker ... Lew (uncredited)

Directed by
Howard Hawks (uncredited)
Writing credits
Martin Flavin (from the stage play by)

Fred Niblo Jr. (adaptation & added dialogue) and
Seton I. Miller (adaptation & added dialogue)

Produced by
Harry Cohn .... producer
Frank Fouce .... producer (uncredited)
Howard Hawks .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Sam Perry (uncredited)
Cinematography by
James Wong Howe (photography by) (as James How)
Ted Tetzlaff (photography by) (as Teddy Tetzlaff)
Film Editing by
Edward Curtiss (film editor)
Art Direction by
Edward C. Jewell (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Selman .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Glenn Rominger .... sound (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
L. William O'Connell .... photographer (uncredited)
Music Department
Mischa Bakaleinikoff .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Alfonso Corelli .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Heinrich Kiehl .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Jean Talbot .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Other crew
Edward Shulter .... technical director (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
97 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric System)
Norway:16 (1931) | UK:A | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #1324-R, 29 August 1935 for re-release) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Movie debut of Constance Cummings.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): 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 »
Mark Brady:An eye for an eye. That's the basis and foundation of the criminal code. Somebody's got to pay!See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Targets (1968)See more »
RomanceSee more »


Why was Howard Hawks uncredited as director?
See more »
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Huston and Karloff Make The Film, 30 April 2010
Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY

Criminal Code, The (1931)

*** (out of 4)

Terrific acting highlights this pre-code prison-drama about an overbearing D.A. (Walter Huston) who sidelines an innocent man (Phillips Holmes) into prison where he learns the "criminal code" way of doing things. The D.A. eventually becomes the prison warden where he runs into contact with many of the men he sent away including the innocent one who will once again find himself at the wrong place during the wrong time. There's no question this Columbia film was made to cash in on the previous years THE BIG HOUSE but that doesn't mean we get a watered-down copy. Instead director Hawks takes a pretty simple storyline and adds various dimensions simply by showing the stuff in a raw and realistic detail. THE BIG HOUSE is certainly a classic but to me this is the better film of the two. What makes this film work so well are some amazing performances with Huston leading the way. There was no one in Hollywood better for a role like this and God knows that Huston played his fair share of hot-tempered, "my way only" type of characters. He brings a lot of energy to the role and manages to make the character very memorable with a performance that many would copy in the future. Another major plus is the supporting performance of Boris Karloff who pretty much steals the film. Karloff has an uncanny and natural performance that brings a certain rawness as well as a coldness that is a real joy to watch. He's the type of bad guy here you just want to love. Constance Cummings plays Huston's daughter and she's pretty good even though the screenplay offers her very little except to be a love interest for Holmes. As for Holmes, I think he gives a good performance but I'd say he's several notches below both Huston and Karloff. Again, it's a fine performance but at the same time if they had someone on the same level as the other two men the film might have been even better. Hawks makes the film as realistic and as raw as he can, which I guess you could say was a trademark during this early portion of his career. I think the film gets off to a somewhat slow start but picks up at the twenty-minute mark and pretty much sails home. The final thirty-minutes are pure Hawks magic and are the most powerful of these early prison films.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (18 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Criminal Code (1931)


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Fury The Big House Call Northside 777 The Departed Midnight Court
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.