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Criminals Within (1941)

 -  Crime | War  -  27 June 1941 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 26 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

A scientist is murdered by foreign agents after having developed a powerful new explosive. The scientist's brother, an army corporal, goes AWOL to discover the identities of the killers. ... See full summary »


(as Joseph Lewis)


(screenplay), (story)
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Title: Criminals Within (1941)

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Complete credited cast:
Eric Linden ...
Cpl. Greg Carroll
Sgt. Paul, the Traitor
Lt. John Harmon
Constance Worth ...
Alma Barton


A scientist is murdered by foreign agents after having developed a powerful new explosive. The scientist's brother, an army corporal, goes AWOL to discover the identities of the killers. Army intelligence officers are looking for him, as they believe he has a list of scientists who helped his brother develop the new weapon, putting them in danger. The spy ring is also after him, but they want the list for a different reason. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A MYSTERY KILLER STRIKES... and a beautiful blonde pays the penalty for knowing too much... Was she a modern Mata Hari?


Crime | War





Release Date:

27 June 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Army Mystery  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In an interview with writer Francis M. Nevins, director Joseph H. Lewis denied that he had directed this film. He had indeed directed several films for PRC Pictures, but he had no idea why they put his name on the credits. See more »

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User Reviews

CRIMINALS WITHIN (Joseph H. Lewis, 1943) **
23 July 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This early semi-noir – which was actually shelved for some two years! – from director Lewis (who would later deservedly acquire a cult reputation) is a thoroughly routine if convoluted programmer, albeit pacy and short enough to be tolerable nonetheless.

Being a wartime production, of course, it involves secret formulas and foreign agents – while the young military hero is, for most of the duration, mistaken for both murderer and spy (actually, the eminent scientist killed in the opening moments is his brother). He's later joined by a female reporter in his effort to outwit the villains – who use a cobbler shop in the vicinity of a U.S. military base (already infiltrated by two members) to pass information to the enemy. For the record, the film includes some now politically incorrect footage involving colored persons employed in servile capacities (even if they get to take part in the climax naturally depicting the comeuppance of the spy ring); by the way, the wrap-up to the film is most abrupt!

Though, as I said, Lewis would eventually become a force to be reckoned with in "Film Noir" (MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS [1945], GUN CRAZY [1950] and THE BIG COMBO [1955]), there's very little evidence of the style typically associated with the genre here. Incidentally, another early film of his I'd watched was the mildly entertaining Bela Lugosi vehicle INVISIBLE GHOST (1941); this, then, reminds me that I've recently acquired another popular 'B' horror effort which Lewis directed – namely THE MAD DOCTOR OF MARKET STREET (1942), starring Lionel Atwill, and which I may get to sooner rather than later on the strength of this (being from the same era and all)…

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