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You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939)

 -  Drama | Crime  -  20 May 1939 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 423 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 8 critic

Youthful tough Johnny Stone has fallen under the influence of petty crook Frank Wilson, who involves him and robbery and murder using his sister's boyfriend's stolen gun.

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(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Title: You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939)

You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Frank Wilson
Gale Page ...
Madge Stone
Billy Halop ...
Johnnie Stone
...
Attorney Carey
...
Pop
Harvey Stephens ...
Fred Burke
Harold Huber ...
Scappa
Joe Sawyer ...
Red
Joe Downing ...
Smitty
...
Toad
Joe King ...
Principal Keeper (as Joseph King)
Joseph Crehan ...
Warden
John Ridgely ...
Gas Station Attendant
Herbert Rawlinson ...
District Attorney
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nat Carr ...
Convict (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Johnnie learns crime from petty thug Frank Wilson. When Wilson kills a pawnbroker with a gun stolen from Johnnie's sister Madge's fiance Fred Burke, Fred goes to Sing Sing's death house. Wilson uses all the pressure can to keep Johnnie silent, even after he and Johnnie themselves wind up in the big house. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gun | pawnbroker | sing sing | robbery | murder | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Explorando o Crime  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original play opened in New York on 26 March 1937. See more »

Goofs

Even though Bogart's character asks for 5 gallons of gas (90 cents at 18 cents a gallon), gas station attendant John Ridgely is able to pump it in only 8 seconds, faster than any gas pump on record. See more »

Quotes

Frank Wilson: Maybe this'll help you out. There's only two guys know who did the shootin' and one of them's dead, and the other one's gonna be if he don't keep his trap shut...
[Pointedly]
Frank Wilson: Good night, Johnny!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Invisible Stripes (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Who said anything about crime, this is a business."
11 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Billy Halop led the Dead End Kids in three other films that paired them up with Humphrey Bogart - "Dead End" which gave the gang their name, "Crime School", and the memorable "Angels With Dirty Faces". Here, Halop co-stars as the conflicted Johnny Stone, a nineteen year old impressionable young man who looks up to petty hood Frank Wilson (Bogey). It's a fairly typical Warner Brothers era film, taking a dim view of crime and poverty, and makes you stay till the very end to find out whether Johnny can win out over his conscience.

Bogart's character is a vile sort, though he takes Johnny under his wing he's really all for himself. When a botched pawn shop robbery results in the murder of the owner, Wilson plants Johnny's gun at the scene. But Johnny's gun was "borrowed" from his sister's boyfriend, cop Fred Burke (Harvey Stephens), so now Burke is framed for the robbery and the murder. Winding up in Sing Sing prison for an unrelated caper, Johnny spends his entire time agonizing over whether to rat out Wilson or do the right thing.

There's a great cast of Warner's B stock players on hand to move the story along. Henry Travers is "Pop" the prison librarian who tries to help Johnny see things straight. Pop's in for life though we don't get to know what his crime was. When introduced to Johnny, the P.K. can't even remember his real name - "Pop will do, I'll never need another name" - one of the first serious hints to Johnny that maybe a life of crime isn't such a good thing.

Joe Sawyer, George E. Stone and Harold Huber are all on hand as prison inmates, with Toad (Stone) regularly making book on whether death row inmates will be executed. Huber's Scappa is totally unrecognizable compared to his roles in the Charlie Chan films of the same era. The one big surprise in the movie, and you'll recognize his voice before you even see him, is Eddie "Rochester" Anderson in an uncredited role as inmate Sam. He provides a touch of comic relief every time he visits Pop in the library for a new dessert recipe.

I always get a kick out of these early films for the perspective they give on the value of money. Wilson gets five gallons of gas for ninety cents, while Fred Burke plans on buying a house in Boston with his promotion that carries three hundred dollars a month - Oh for the good old days!

Though "You Can't Get Away With Murder" winds up being fairly formulaic, it's still a decent film with a lot of screen time for Halop, and Bogie building up a head of steam for his gangster sizzler "High Sierra". With only a couple of viewer comments to it's credit in this forum, the movie deserves a wider audience, especially if you're a fan of the principal players.


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