IMDb > Each Dawn I Die (1939)
Each Dawn I Die
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Each Dawn I Die (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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Each Dawn I Die -- Trailer for this strange story of two men from opposite worlds


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Down 20% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Norman Reilly Raine (screen play) and
Warren Duff (screen play) ...
View company contact information for Each Dawn I Die on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 August 1939 (USA) See more »
Slugging their way to adventure !
A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
I found a square guy. See more (37 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Cagney ... Frank Ross

George Raft ... 'Hood' Stacey

Jane Bryan ... Joyce

George Bancroft ... John Armstrong

Maxie Rosenbloom ... Fargo Red

Stanley Ridges ... Meuller

Alan Baxter ... Carlisle

Victor Jory ... Grayce

John Wray ... Pete Kassock
Edward Pawley ... Dale

Willard Robertson ... Lang

Emma Dunn ... Mrs. Ross

Paul Hurst ... Garsky

Louis Jean Heydt ... Lassiter
Joe Downing ... Limpy Julien

Thurston Hall ... Hanley

William B. Davidson ... Bill Mason (as William Davidson)
Clay Clement ... Stacey's Attorney

Charles Trowbridge ... Judge

Harry Cording ... Temple
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Raymond Bailey ... Convict (uncredited)

Abner Biberman ... Shake Edwards (uncredited)

Martin Cichy ... Convict (uncredited)
John Conte ... Narrator (uncredited)

John Dilson ... Parole Board Member (uncredited)
Sam Finn ... Convict (uncredited)

James Flavin ... Policeman (uncredited)
Arthur Gardner ... Man in Car (uncredited)
Jack A. Goodrich ... Accident Witness (uncredited)

Fred Graham ... Guard in Cell (uncredited)

Joe Gray ... Prisoner (uncredited)

Mack Gray ... Joe - a Gangster (uncredited)

Chuck Hamilton ... Court Officer (uncredited)

John Harron ... Jerry - a Reporter (uncredited)
Eddie Hart ... Guard (uncredited)

Al Hill ... Johnny - a Gangster (uncredited)
Max Hoffman Jr. ... Gate Guard (uncredited)

Stuart Holmes ... Accident Witness (uncredited)

Robert Homans ... Mac - a Guard (uncredited)
Art Howard ... Parole Board Member (uncredited)
John Irwin ... Convict (uncredited)

Selmer Jackson ... Editor Patterson (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Convict (uncredited)

Wilfred Lucas ... Bailiff (uncredited)

Walter Miller ... Turnkey (uncredited)

Bert Moorhouse ... Lawyer (uncredited)
Lew Morphy ... Trial Warden (uncredited)
Wedgwood Nowell ... Parole Board Member (uncredited)

Frank O'Connor ... Guard in Movie Room (uncredited)
Henry Otho ... Guard in Warden's Office (uncredited)

Paul Panzer ... Convict (uncredited)
Bob Perry ... Bud - a Gangster (uncredited)
Jack Perry ... Hoodlum Who Helps Frame Ross (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Guard (uncredited)
Dick Rich ... Guard (uncredited)
John Ridgely ... Reporter (uncredited)
Hector V. Sarno ... Convict (uncredited)
Cliff Saum ... Accident Witness (uncredited)
Napoleon Simpson ... Mose - a Black Convict (uncredited)
Garland Smith ... Man in Car (uncredited)
Jack C. Smith ... Guard (uncredited)
James P. Spencer ... Bald Convict (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Convict (uncredited)
Elliott Sullivan ... Convict (uncredited)

Harry Tenbrook ... Convict (uncredited)

Sailor Vincent ... Convict (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan ... Prosecutor (uncredited)
Leo White ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Jack Wise ... Convict (uncredited)

Maris Wrixon ... Girl in Car (uncredited)

Directed by
William Keighley 
Writing credits
Norman Reilly Raine (screen play) and
Warren Duff (screen play)

Jerome Odlum (from the novel by)

Charles Perry  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
David Lewis .... associate producer
Hal B. Wallis .... executive producer
Original Music by
Max Steiner (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Arthur Edeson (photography)
Film Editing by
Thomas Richards (film editor)
Art Direction by
Max Parker 
Costume Design by
Howard Shoup (gowns)
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Jack L. Warner .... in charge of production
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Frank Heath .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Everett Alton Brown .... sound (as E.A. Brown)
Mike Lally .... stunts (uncredited)
Harvey Parry .... stunts (uncredited)
Loren Riebe .... stunt double: George Raft (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
William Buckley .... technical advisor
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.) (A First National Picture)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
92 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Sweden:(Banned) | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video) | USA:Approved (PCA #5085) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

This was Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's favorite American movie.See more »
Frank Ross:I don't love life much, but I don't hate it enough to stick my head in front of a screw's bullet.See more »
Movie Connections:
Wings Over the NavySee more »


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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
I found a square guy., 13 July 2011
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom

Each Dawn I Die is directed by William Keighley and co-written by Warren Duff, Norman Reilly Raine and Charles Perry, who adapt from the novel of the same name written by Jerome Odlum. It stars James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan and George Bancroft. Max Steiner scores the music and photography is by Arthur Edeson. Story sees Cagney as crusading newspaper reporter Frank Ross, who after dishing the dirt on crooked D.A. Jesse Hanley (Thurston Hall) finds himself set up as a drunk drive killer of three innocents. Sentenced to prison for a one to twenty year stretch, Frank makes friends with gangster Stacey (Raft). It's a friendship that will have great consequences for the both of them.

Out of the Warner Brothers tough guy library, Each Dawn I Die has star appeal and a pot boiling plot firmly on its side. Very much a success back on its release, it has come to be known as the film where the lead casting needed a role reversal. Yet watching it now, Cagney still gets to be a bad ass even though he's a decent man in the main. Prison hardens him, takes off his good edge and he becomes a seasoned convict. Raft on the other hand is laboured as the gangster, making this firmly Cagney's picture, but in fairness, Raft is not done any favours by the script, which appears to be undecided exactly how it wants the character of Stacey to be. In that respect the film doesn't realise the potential on offer. I mean, Cagney and Raft, in prison, amongst murder and violent guards, it really should be a springboard to a genre classic. But with Cagney often restrained and Raft phoning it in on reputation alone, story isn't strong enough to gain dramatic momentum alone. Thus the explosive ending, whilst hugely enjoyable, kind of comes of as being OTT and not in keeping with the talky tone that preceded it.

Other critics, both of the time and in recent years, have bemoaned the implausible nature of the story. Personally that doesn't wash with me, if I was going into a 1939 prison based drama featuring Cagney and Raft, I'm not expecting the story to tow the party line of facts and believability! While there's much to be said about the fact that at least Each Dawn I Die is not formulaic. Thematically it's a good film, where social conscience, loyalty and moral ethics get the once over, even if the threatened expose of corruption is barely given much thought other than to launch Cagney into jail. Where, thankfully, Cagney delivers another firecracker performance. Support is strong, with Bancroft (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town/ Stagecoach) as the Warden and Bryan (Kid Galahad/ A Slight Case of Murder) as the love interest of Ross making the most telling marks. Edeson's (Frankenstein/ All Quiet on the Western Front) photography is effective for the confines of prison life, and Steiner (The Informer/ Now, Voyager) scores it with dramatic bursts and reflective strains.

The flaws are evident now but you easily can see how a late 30's audience would lap this up. Not all that it can be, but with Cagney holding court and some nice themes within, it's still an easily recommended film. 7/10

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