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You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 20 May 1939 (USA)
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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Madge Stone
...
Johnnie Stone
...
Attorney Carey
...
Pop
...
Fred Burke
...
...
Red
Joe Downing ...
Smitty
...
...
Principal Keeper (as Joseph King)
...
Warden
...
Gas Station Attendant
...
District Attorney
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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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

20 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Explorando o Crime  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Three actors listed in Studio records as being in this film were not seen in the movie. These were (with their character names): Nat Carr (Convict), Lane Chandler (Guard) and Joe Devlin (Prisoner). 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

 
Some bright spots, and dramatic filming, nestled into a routine story
22 October 2014 | by See all my reviews

You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939)

From the peak of classic pre-war Hollywood and "Gone with the Wind," anticipating the equally classic and more slick "Citizen Kane" and "Casablanca" in the next three years. And just before star Humphrey Bogart has his breakout in "The Maltese Falcon" in 1941. Things hang a little undecided here, a classic crime drama a removed from the early 30s Warner Bros. masterpieces, but unpolished for its time, too. Blame a modest budget.

But then again, this is rather good on its own terms, a standard gangster story with a message. And Bogart is strong, a bit more developed than his earlier gangster roles where he's a bit of stereotype. Bits of dry humor and disdain creep in, welcome Bogart touches. The main twist here is a sweet young man, really just a kid, gets involved. And how. Note the title.

The writing isn't always great, sometimes falling into cheap dramatic comments without surprise, or even avoiding basic believability. The action parts are good and well filmed (and they avoid unnecessary dialog). Some of the side characters are just filling roles without depth, or are clichés (the African-American reading the cookbook— charming and fun, or the good-hearted librarian in prison). Even the kid isn't quite right, as if he's playing what he thinks he should instead of inhabiting the role.

Bogart, however, is a whole different class of actor in all of this, and he's the reason to watch. The last twenty minutes click along really nicely. Not an awful film in all, but be prepared for some routine stuff between the highlights.


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