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They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,294 users  
Reviews: 36 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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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

Apparently, the copyright on this film was not renewed, and so it fell into public domain; as a result, countless discount VHS and DVD dealers, who normally do not include copyrighted major studio titles in their inventories, do offer this one, but since they don't have access to original negative material, copies are usually unacceptably inferior. 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

J. Douglas Williamson: You think you're smart, don't you?
Spit: They call us "the Six Geniuses."
See more »

Connections

Followed by Code of the Streets (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

 
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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