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Back Door to Heaven (1939)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 78 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 5 critic

The life of a young slum kid, who starts out stealing small things in order to fit in with the "crowd", winds up in reform school, and eventually spends much of his life in prison. Upon his... See full summary »

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(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Back Door to Heaven (1939)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Wallace Ford ...
Frankie Rogers
Aline MacMahon ...
Miss Williams
...
Jud Mason
Patricia Ellis ...
Carol Evans
Bert Frohman ...
Bert Gatto (The Mouse)
Kent Smith ...
Attorney
Bruce Evans ...
Charley Smith
George J. Lewis ...
Bob Hale (as George Lewis)
Douglas McMullen ...
Wallace Kischler (as Doug McMullen)
Helen Christian ...
Mrs. Charley Smith
Robert Vivian ...
George Spelvin
Hugh Cameron ...
Warden
Iris Adrian ...
Sugar, Burlesque Dancer
Georgette Harvey ...
Mrs. Hamilton
Jimmy Lydon ...
Frankie Rogers-as aYoung Boy
Edit

Storyline

The life of a young slum kid, who starts out stealing small things in order to fit in with the "crowd", winds up in reform school, and eventually spends much of his life in prison. Upon his release, he finds that life on the outside can be just as hard as life on the inside. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

slum

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 December 1939 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Frankie  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

"The Things In My Heart
By Al Siegel
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User Reviews

 
The Unhappy Life of Frankie Rogers
18 December 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Played by Jimmy Lydon as a kid and Wallace Ford as an adult, Frankie Rogers the protagonist of Back Door To Heaven has a short and unhappy life and is someone who could never catch a break. I've known people like that one in particular from my past who didn't even have parents for his cognitive existence. He like Rogers could never get a break in life.

I wish I could have given Back Door To Heaven a better rating, the cast is a good one and the performances most sincere. But sadly this film is way too awash in sentimentality and pathos.

From an abusive parental household to assorting with sleazy types young Jimmy Lydon who only wanted to fit in gets sent to reform school and becomes a harden criminal. Nearly all the other kids in Aline McMahon's grade school class seem to have made something of themselves except him as he grows into Wallace Ford a hardened criminal. Eventually he moves inexorably to his appointed fate at the death house which he's determined to cheat.

Note the presence of a young Van Heflin before his success on Broadway in The Philadelphia Story and his Oscar for Johnny Eager. As a grownup he's a lawyer who tries to obtain mercy for Ford for a capital crime. McMahon does well as the beloved schoolteacher.

It's a sad film Back Door To Heaven, but it could have used a lot more work to make it OK.


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