6.5/10
97
5 user 6 critic

Back Door to Heaven (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 4 December 1939 (Sweden)
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 »

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

Videos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Larry Poole, in prison on a false charge, promise an inmate that when he gets out he will look up and help out a family. The family turns out to be a young girl, Patsy Smith, and her ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Bing Crosby, Madge Evans, Edith Fellows
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

During WWII, a three-man commando team places its trust in the hands of a band of Filipino resistants, as they try to knock out a Japanese communication center.

Director: Monte Hellman
Stars: Jimmie Rodgers, Jack Nicholson, John Hackett
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A lawyer is framed for the murder of a young party girl and tries to clear his name.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Pat O'Brien, Edward Arnold, Broderick Crawford
History | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A California mining camp is plagued by a series of murders. Four people come under suspicion for the killings and are run out of the camp. During a blizzard they take refuge in an isolated ... See full summary »

Director: Christy Cabanne
Stars: Preston Foster, Jean Muir, Van Heflin
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Based on James Barrie's play "Alice Sit-By-The-Fire". In turn-of-the-century New York, a young girl who believes she's learned "the seamy side of life" from a risque play takes it upon ... See full summary »

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Joan Fontaine, John Lund, Mona Freeman
Certificate: Passed Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Climaxing a long series of mysterious disappearances of young girls, dancer Thalia Arnold is found murdered. Police-detective Captain McVeigh believes that King Peterson, a nightclub ... See full summary »

Director: Elmer Clifton
Stars: H.B. Warner, Astrid Allwyn, John Archer
Over the Moon (1939)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Young Jane Benson just about manages to make ends meet running the large family house in Yorkshire. In love with local doctor Freddie Jarvis, she suggests they marry, but almost at once ... See full summary »

Directors: Thornton Freeland, William K. Howard
Stars: Merle Oberon, Rex Harrison, Ursula Jeans
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Georgi has attempted suicide in reaction to an earlier love affair. Now that Dr. Decker has married her he sets out to get her to love him. To make enough to give her what she wants he ... See full summary »

Directors: W.S. Van Dyke, Frank Borzage, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr, Verree Teasdale
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

This film-noir piece, told in semi-documentary style, follows police on the hunt for a resourceful criminal who shoots and kills a cop.

Directors: Alfred L. Werker, Anthony Mann
Stars: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts
Body and Soul (1947)
Drama | Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Charley Davis wins an amateur boxing match and is taken on by promoter Quinn. Charley's mother doesn't want him to fight, but when Charley's father is accidentally killed, Charley sets up a... See full summary »

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Wealthy Polly Fulton marries a progressive scholar whose attitudes toward capitalism and acquired wealth puts their marriage in jeopardy.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Charles Coburn
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

John Hathaway is a professor of psychology at Digby College. His students are bored as he is with the students. He leaves college to go to New York to have his manuscript on jealousy ... See full summary »

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Rosalind Russell, Don Ameche, Kay Francis
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Aline MacMahon ...
...
...
Carol Evans
Bert Frohman ...
Bert Gatto (The Mouse)
...
Attorney
Bruce Evans ...
Charley Smith
...
Bob Hale (as George Lewis)
Douglas McMullen ...
Wallace Kischler (as Doug McMullen)
Helen Christian ...
Mrs. Charley Smith
Robert Vivian ...
George Spelvin
Hugh Cameron ...
Warden
...
Sugar, Burlesque Dancer
Georgette Harvey ...
Mrs. Hamilton
...
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 | See All (1) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The earliest documented telecast of this film in New York City occurred Thursday 10 July 1947 on Dumont's WABD (Channel 5); in the Los Angeles area its initial television presentation occurred Sunday 11 January 1948 on Dumont's KTLA (Channel 5); See more »

Soundtracks

Home-Town
By Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr
Performed by Bert Frohman (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.


1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Back Door to Heaven (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?