IMDb > You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939)
You Can't Get Away with Murder
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You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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You Can't Get Away with Murder -- Humphrey Bogart stars in this gangster movie that shows the fate that befalls a young punk (Dead End Kid Billy Halop) who hooks up with a mobster (Bogart). Also stars Gale Page.


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6.3/10   541 votes »
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Up 228% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Robert Buckner (screen play) &
Don Ryan (screen play) ...
View company contact information for You Can't Get Away with Murder on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 May 1939 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
"Who said anything about crime, this is a business." See more (16 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Humphrey Bogart ... Frank Wilson
Gale Page ... Madge Stone
Billy Halop ... Johnnie Stone

John Litel ... Attorney Carey

Henry Travers ... Pop
Harvey Stephens ... Fred Burke
Harold Huber ... Scappa
Joe Sawyer ... Red
Joe Downing ... Smitty

George E. Stone ... 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)

Lane Chandler ... Guard (scenes deleted)

Joe Devlin ... Prisoner (scenes deleted)

Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Sam (uncredited)
Sidney Bracey ... Tourist on Boat (uncredited)
Edwin Brian ... Billiards Observer (uncredited)

Frankie Burke ... Billard Player (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler ... Attacked Keeper (uncredited)
Noble 'Kid' Chissell ... Convict (uncredited)
Hal Craig ... Motorcycle Policeman (uncredited)
Tom Dugan ... 'Lock' Man - Inventor (uncredited)
Edgar Edwards ... Trainer (uncredited)

Frank Faylen ... Boat Tour Guide (uncredited)
Jack A. Goodrich ... Stenographer (uncredited)
John Harron ... Convict Remaining in Cell (uncredited)
Robert Homans ... Keeper Burns (uncredited)

Frank Mayo ... Keeper Collins (uncredited)
Jack Mower ... Keeper Monahan (uncredited)
Robert Emmett O'Connor ... First Detective (uncredited)
George Offerman Jr. ... Billard Player (uncredited)
Garry Owen ... 'Lock' Man - Inventor (uncredited)

Emory Parnell ... Second Detective (uncredited)
Cliff Saum ... Officer (uncredited)
Gertrude Short ... Peg - Madge's Friend (uncredited)
Robert Strange ... Chapin Loan Co. Pawnbroker (uncredited)
George Taylor ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Tom Wilson ... Pool Hall Proprietor (uncredited)

Directed by
Lewis Seiler 
Writing credits
Robert Buckner (screen play) &
Don Ryan (screen play) and
Kenneth Gamet (screen play)

Lewis E. Lawes (based on a play by) (as Warden Lewis E. Lawes) and
Jonathan Finn (based on a play by)

Produced by
Samuel Bischoff .... associate producer (uncredited)
Hal B. Wallis .... executive producer (uncredited)
Jack L. Warner .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Heinz Roemheld  (as H. Roemheld)
Cinematography by
Sol Polito (photography)
Film Editing by
James Gibbon 
Art Direction by
Hugh Reticker 
Costume Design by
Milo Anderson (gowns)
Production Management
Louis Baum .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William Kissell .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Francis J. Scheid .... sound
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Arthur Kay .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Rudolph G. Kopp .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Jo Graham .... dialogue director
Crew believed to be complete

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as a Warner Bros. - First National Picture)
DistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
79 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Finland:(Banned) (1939) | USA:Approved (PCA #4705) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

The original play opened in New York on 26 March 1937.See more »
Revealing mistakes: 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 »
Scappa:Aw pee yourself, Frankie! Here's one guy that's cut all his teeth.
Frank Wilson:Well how'd you like to have me shove 'em down your throat for you?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Invisible Stripes (1939)See more »


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17 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
"Who said anything about crime, this is a business.", 11 January 2006
Author: classicsoncall from United States

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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