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They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,238 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 24 critic

A boxer flees believing he has comitted a murder while he was drunk.

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(screen play), (from a novel by), 3 more credits »
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Title: They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Johnnie
The 'Dead End' Kids
...
Detective Phelan
...
Goldie
...
Grandma
Gloria Dickson ...
Peggy
Billy Halop ...
Tommy
Bobby Jordan ...
Leo Gorcey ...
Huntz Hall ...
Gabriel Dell ...
Bernard Punsly ...
Milt (as Bernard Punsley)
Robert Gleckler ...
Doc Ward
John Ridgely ...
Magee
Barbara Pepper ...
Budgie
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Storyline

Johnnie is a boxer. The same evening he won the world championship, he is charged for the murder of a reporter and is taken for dead. Running away from New York, he ends up in a ranch in Arizona, run by an old lady as a work farm for delinquent teenagers. He falls in love with Peggy and became the teenagers' hero. But there is that New York Detective, Phelan, that does not believe he is dead and is chasing him... An unlikely scenario, but not a so bad film. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

YOU'D GIVE A DOG A BETTER CHANCE! (re-release print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Became a Criminal  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Busby Berkeley first made a name for himself with musical spectaculars like Footlight Parade (1933), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) and 42nd Street (1933). He persuaded Warner Brothers executives to let him do a dramatic picture, and they assigned him to this film. He didn't shed his musical association entirely, however; the film contains an "in-joke". When "Dippy" (Huntz Hall) operates the controls of a makeshift shower, he serenades the bathing "Jack/Johnnie" with "By The Waterfall", a song from Berkeley's hit "Footlight Parade". See more »

Goofs

At 38minutes into the film Gloria Dickson's "Peggy" calls John Garfield's character "Johnnie" when he in fact is still under the guise & alias persona of "Jack Dorney"! She could not know that since he has not told anyone at that point of the film. See more »

Quotes

Speed: She took eight gallons. That's a dollar twenty-eight.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Mug Town (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

M-O-T-H-E-R, a Word That Means the World to Me
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore Morse
Lyrics by Howard Johnson
Partially sung a cappella by Bert Roach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Better Than the Original
10 January 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

They Made Me a Criminal is a remake of an earlier Warner Brothers film, The Life of Jimmy Dolan which starred Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as the prizefighter on the lam.

Even with the restrictions now upon production by the Hays Office, this remake actually turns out to be better than the original. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., is horribly miscast as a pugilist. John Garfield with his background and style steps into a part he was born to play.

They Made Me a Criminal was directed by Busby Berkeley who Jack Warner believed in keeping busy in between musicals. Berkeley in fact would soon be leaving Warner Brothers for MGM.

Berkeley does do a fine job here, keeping the action flowing at a good pace. I particularly like the scene where four of the Dead End Kids and Garfield are swimming in a water tank and get stranded there when the water level goes down. They get it out of it quite narrowly and with some good ingenuity.

Other performances besides Garfield and the kids to remember are May Robson who runs the summer camp for the kids and Claude Rains as the obsessed detective on Garfield's trail.


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