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They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Sport | 28 January 1939 (USA)
A boxer flees believing he has comitted a murder while he was drunk.

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(screen play), (from a novel by) | 1 more credit »
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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 ...
...
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 »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Sport

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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Claude Rains at first turned down the part, feeling he would be miscast and look ridiculous as a tough New York City cop. Only after being threatened by the studio with suspension did he reluctantly accept it, but he always considered this one of his least favorite pictures. 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

Johnnie Bradfield, aka Jack Dorney: If you're rootin' for me, I'll go in there and bang the ears off the biggest guy in the world.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Hell's Kitchen (1939) 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

 
John Garfield Gets in the Ring for Billy Halop and "The Dead End Kids"
11 April 2009 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

After winning a championship fight, boxer John Garfield (as Johnnie Bradfield) celebrates with a drinking binge, which leads to the manslaughter of a pushy reporter. Although his manager killed the man, Mr. Garfield is blamed. When the manager dies in a car crash, wearing Garfield's stolen watch, authorities think the boxer is dead. Still a WANTED man, Garfield changes his identity to "Jack Dorney" and moves to an Arizona ranch. There, Garfield meets "The Dead End Kids": Billy Halop (as Tommy), Bobby Jordan (as Angel), Leo Gorcey (as Spit), Huntz Hall (as Dippy), Gabriel Dell (as T.B.), and Bernard Punsly (as Milt).

Garfield bonds with the young "Dead End" lads, who were sent to stay with sweet "Grandma Rafferty" (May Robson) as an alternative to reform school, courtesy of her brother, deceased priest "Father Rafferty". Garfield falls in love with Halop's sister, pretty "Peggy" (Gloria Dickson), who is there to keep any eye on the kids. Of course, Garfield's past comes back to haunt him…

John Garfield and The 'Dead End' Kids make beautiful (Max Steiner) music together, thanks to effective direction and photography, by Busby Berkeley and James Wong Howe. The story is predictably comfortable, with the Warner Brothers support team in fine form. Garfield and the "Dead End" kids are a winning combination; although Garfield made no further movies with the "East Side" gang, the studio had him re-team with both Billy Halop and Bobby Jordan, almost immediately, for "Dust Be My Destiny".

The boxing scenes are nicely staged. But, the most exciting sequence has Garfield and four of the New York "Kids" (Halop, Jordan, Hall, and Punsly) climbing into a giant water tank for a swim - which unexpectedly puts their lives in danger. Other, more brief, highlights include floozy Ann Sheridan (as Goldie), boozy Barbara Pepper (as Budgie), and young Ronald Sinclair (as Douglas) losing at strip poker.

******** They Made Me a Criminal (1/21/39) Busby Berkeley ~ John Garfield, Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Claude Rains


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