7.1/10
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40 user 25 critic

They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 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
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Grandma
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Peggy
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Tommy
...
...
...
...
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Milt (as Bernard Punsley)
Robert Gleckler ...
Doc Ward
John Ridgely ...
Magee
...
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:

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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

Ringside Radio Fight Announcer: A right to the jaw. A left to the face. Boy, is he a killer. Is he murderous. The Bull lands a terrific right to Smith's jaw, and Smith is down! It'll be best for Smith if he stays down, because this is downright murder. Smith's face is red pulp; red, red pulp. 8, 9, 10! And Smith's out. Phew! And I'm glad that's over.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kleingeistganoven (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Spirit of Independence
(1912) (uncredited)
Music by Abe Holzmann
Played as Jack enters the ring for his fight
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Mirror Image of another great film from the 1930's
14 September 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have never been a big fan of John Garfield but seeing this movie gave me a different opinion. This is a well done remake of one of my all time favorite films "The Life of Jimmy Dolan" (1933) with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. , Loretta Young , a very young Mickey Rooney and a cameo by a guy named John Wayne. That film had one of the best love songs ever "How Deep Is the Ocean" as a background to the love scenes.

Garfield plays his boxer a little more as a looser than did Doug Fairbanks but he is great in the part.

What really drew me to this film was the "ensemble" cast of the Dead End Kids as the tough reform school guys on the farm that Garfield's character helps. The ever superb (and I feel also unrated) Leo Gorcey says it all with his body language and that face as the tough mug with a ice cube for a heart. He is wonderful. As for the rest of the Bowery Boys/Dead End Kids, they are also fabulous. How they play off each other is a lesson in acting.

I would recommend this film but for the classic take on this story see the Fairbanks film. It is outstanding.


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