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A ruthless but clever gangster who knows every loophole in the law has the tables turned by a dedicated District Attorney and his assistant.



(original screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Anne Nagel ...
Patricia Wayne
Robert Kent ...
John Carter
Charles Trowbridge ...
Dexter Wayne
Morgan Wallace ...
'Big Bill' Anderson
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Chief Reardon
John T. Murray ...
Horace Meade
Joseph Crehan ...
Benny Bartlett ...
Billy Jones (as Bennie Bartlett)
John Merton ...
Red Hampton
George Stanley
Capt. Brown
Donald Kerr ...
Joe Armstrong
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ernie Adams ...
Henchman (scenes deleted)
Joan Barclay ...
Girlfriend (scenes deleted)
Martin Spellman ...
(scenes deleted)


A ruthless but clever gangster who knows every loophole in the law has the tables turned by a dedicated District Attorney and his assistant.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gangster | police shootout | See All (2) »


Against the vicious racketeers who rule a terrified city!


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

10 November 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Crooked Way  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


Big Bill Anderson: ...politician has one weak spot. Load your gun with votes and shoot him through the ballot box. You leave things to me. When I get through with this half-baked hamlet, it'll be a live city.
See more »

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User Reviews

Oh, Those 1930s Crime Films!
24 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After watching this recently, it really dawned on me the big gap between crime stories on film of the 1930s to ones made from 1940 on. The '30s look and sound so more dated than ones just a half dozen years later. Part of that is good because the 1930s expressions are fun to hear and the films are shorter and faster-paced, and a bit edgier.

The cops that appear are really different. Even though there is a lot of moralizing - which is fine with me, such as prefaces right before the feature warning of the dangers of crimes and having criminals glorified, the films themselves actually make the cops look like thugs as well as the criminals!

The police are shown treating suspects as if they are already convicted felons, roughing them up, denying them a lawyer, detaining them illegally, etc. - and they are supposed to be the good guys?! I am no Liberal by a longshot but no wonder laws were put in to protect average citizens from the police, if that's the way things were. In fact, I was shocked to hear the term "police brutality" in this movie. I always thought that expression came from the 1960s, but here it is in a 1938 film. However, in an interesting twist, in this film two crooks fake "police brutality" to get out of testifying before a grand jury against their vicious gangland boss. Interesting things happen after that, and this film gets better and better as it goes on. The main crook, played by Morgan Wallace, is really fascinating in his brutal attitude. At least they still made the bad guys worse people than those 'brutal' cops.

These '30 gangster movies. may be hokey, corny, extremely dated and inadvertently not favorable to the police here and there, but they don't mess around by being too talky. They get to the point and they are simply fun to watch.

Note: The IMDb board here hasn't listed this as available on DVD but that's how I watched it yesterday. It's part of a 4-film DVD pack entitled "Mobster Movies."

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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