A man is given the choice between having fabulous wealth or saving an innocent man from the death penalty.



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Cast overview:
Jimmy Hutchins
Mary Whitlock
Peggy Moran ...
Joan Lawson
Edward Brophy ...
Jonathan Hale ...
Jack Lang
Russell Hicks ...
Wallis Clark ...
District Attorney
Alan Davis ...
Murray Alper ...
Edward Pawley ...
George McKay ...
Buzz Miller


Bill Whitlock, the warden of a large prison, has a decision to make; the only way he can keep an innocent man, Jimmy Hutchins, from dying in the electric chair is to return some stolen loot that has come into his possession. It is quite a large sum, so his conscience has to work over-time, and that may not sway him, either. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HE HAD A RIGHT TO KILL..AND MAKE A FORTUNE IF HE DID! But they were innocent...and he knew it (original poster) See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Warden of the Big House  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Remade as Behind the High Wall (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

A definite must-see!
17 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

A very superior "B" feature, thanks to the fast-paced, imaginative direction of Arthur Lubin, plus the extremely skillful camera-work of one of my favorite photographers, Woody Bredell. Alas, the acting of both Victor McLaglen and Jackie Cooper verges on the overly hysterical side (McLaglen always was a bit of a ham), but our old friend, Edward Brophy, is absolutely terrific. In fact, in my opinion, he gives us the finest performance of his entire career. "The Big Guy" is most definitely worth seeing just on this account alone and I am amazed -- in fact, absolutely astonished -- to find myself the lone reviewer here at IMDb. Of course, the movie does have other merits. Although some use is made of stock shots, the general staging, for example, is far superior to the average "B". Alas, "Behind the Wall" (1956) proved to be an astonishingly inferior remake.

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