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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:

Sensational Human Drama! 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

Desert location shooting was so hot at times that the film melted in the camera. See more »

Goofs

When "Jack Dorney" and some of the kids were trapped in the water tank, they swam to the bottom of the tank to lift a drain cap to let out the water so they wouldn't drown. Of course, the pressure of 10 feet of water in the tank would have exerted 500-600 pounds per square foot on that drain cap, making it much more difficult if not impossible for them to lift it. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Followed by Hit the Road (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

By a Waterfall
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Irving Kahal
Whistled and partially sung by Huntz Hall
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Swell Time for Classic Movie Buffs
17 April 2005 | by (northern Indiana) – See all my reviews

Busby Berkeley is best known for choreographing dozens of beautiful girls in outlandish costumes, twirling and parading in early musicals, but here he tries his hand at choreographing boxing matches. John Garfield is terrific in this rough little melodrama, where he's a boxer mixed up in a murder committed by his manager. The manager takes his watch, his girl, and his car and is promptly mangled in a car accident so horrendous that the cops mistake him for Garfield. The unlikely misfortune continues to pile up on Garfield as he gets the worst legal advice ever from his crooked lawyer and takes it on the lam to Arizona.

The wonderful Claude Rains, with his theatrical carriage and a comically-bad accent sounding more Queensland than Queens, is way out of his element as a tough-talking New York cop, and that alone may be worth the price of admission. The Dead End Kids (AKA the Bowery Boys) appear here as delinquents transplanted from New York to an Arizona fruit farm(?!) Gloria Dickson is a bottle-blonde treat as feisty rancher girl Peggy who has lousy taste in men.

Garfield lays low for a while on the ranch, mostly getting the boys into trouble, but somehow wins the heart of Dickson despite lying to her every time he opens his mouth thru the entire film. He enters an exhibition match with a professional fighter on tour who is taking all comers and offering big cash to anyone who can stay in the ring for more than two rounds. Garfield hopes to win enough to start a gas station and save the ranch at 16 cents a gallon. Rains naturally shows up and throws a wrench into his plans.

The dialog is weak but the plotting isn't completely predictable (unbelievable, maybe, but not predictable). It's a fun diversion for those who like the era of pork-pie hats and swell lingo. However, seeing the teens fleece a 12-year-old military school cadet in a game of strip poker is... disturbing.


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