I Was a Criminal (1945)

 |  Drama  |  1 January 1945 (USA)
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(screenplay), (screen version Der Hauptmann von Köpenick), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Albert Bassermann ...
Eric Blore ...
Obermueller, the Mayor
Herman Bing ...
Kilian, City Hall Guard
George Chandler ...
Luis Alberni ...
Prison Guard
Wallis Clark ...
Elsa Bassermann ...
Mrs. Marie Hoprecht
Claud Allister ...
First Railroad Employee
Bernard Gorcey ...
Second Railroad Employee
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Rosenkrantz, the Treasurer
Frank McGlynn Sr. ...
Prison Warden
Frank Orth ...
Knoll, the Factory Personnel Manager
Sig Arno ...
Krakauer, the Second-Hand Dealer
Russell Hicks ...
Police Commisioner


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Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »







Release Date:

1 January 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Captain of Koepenick  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Completed as 'Passport to Heaven' in 1941, but unable to find a distributor due to the outbreak of World War II, which made its German settings and characterizations unpalatable to the American public; eventually picked up by Film Classics in 1945, but received few bookings, probably for the same reason; the only review it ever received was in Exhibitor Magazine in July 1946, who also commented on this same problem; eventually picked up for television release by NTA in the 1950's, but only infrequently shown. See more »


Version of The Captain from Köpenick (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Fine film that is completely off the radar
28 August 2014 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Okay, first let me say that all my observations are based on my personal 16mm print, which is a composite of a Film Classics release made up for military use and a television print with complete original titles. To begin, the reel "slate" says Captain From Kopenick Part 1. This means that, up until the film was completed it was planned and produced as The Captain From Kopenick. When it was finished it was given the more generic title PASSPORT TO HEAVEN. Still, the subject matter was not palatable for distributors and the film languished until Film Classics picked it up and gave it yet another generic title I WAS A CRIMINAL. I have footage of the CRIMINAL main titles as well as the complete PASSPORT main titles.

While the original German talkie was sharper and far more indicting, the American film still carries enough wry satire to be thoroughly enjoyable. It also sports a very early score by Daniele Amfitheatrof. In fact, for an independent production the film has some excellent production credits including cinematographer John Alton and editor Dorothy Spencer. The cast is superb, in particular Luis Alberni, Wallis Clark and, of course, the wonderful Albert Bassermann.

The last owner of PASSPORT TO HEAVEN was National Telefilm Associates so, in theory, the picture should be in the Paramount library. Whether or not they actually have materials is another matter.

I ran the film at CineFest in Syracuse in 2013 and it was very well received. Here's hoping a wider audience gets to see the picture at some point in the future.

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