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I Became a Criminal (1947)
"They Made Me a Fugitive" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  6 March 1948 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 656 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 22 critic

In this gritty film noir, cynical ex-RAF flyer Morgan, bored with civilian life, joins a break-in gang led by Narcy. On his first job, the getaway car crashes after killing a policeman. ... See full summary »

Director:

(as Cavalcanti)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: I Became a Criminal (1947)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Gray ...
Sally
...
Clem
Griffith Jones ...
Narcy
René Ray ...
Cora (as Rene Ray)
Mary Merrall ...
Aggie
Charles Farrell ...
Curley
Michael Brennan ...
Jim
Jack McNaughton ...
Soapy
Cyril Smith ...
Bert
John Penrose ...
Shawney
Eve Ashley ...
Ellen
Phyllis Robins ...
Olga
Bill O'Connor ...
Bill
Maurice Denham ...
Mr. Fenshaw
Vida Hope ...
Mrs. Fenshaw
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Storyline

In this gritty film noir, cynical ex-RAF flyer Morgan, bored with civilian life, joins a break-in gang led by Narcy. On his first job, the getaway car crashes after killing a policeman. Morgan is framed as the driver and sent to jail. Seeking revenge, he escapes and heads for London. Along the way he's helped by a woman (Mrs. Fenshaw), who wants him to murder her husband. In London, Morgan is sheltered by Sally, who falls in love with him. He confronts Narcy and the gang in an abandoned warehouse. Brazilian Director Cavalcanti's crime drama should not be confused with the totally unrelated "They Made Me a Criminal" (1939). Written by Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

6 March 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Became a Criminal  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Trevor Howard was cast at very short notice after the actor first cast dropped out. See more »

Soundtracks

Caress Me
(uncredited)
Performed on-stage by Phyllis Robins and others
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User Reviews

It's More Influential Than You Think
24 May 2004 | by (Long Island, USA) – See all my reviews

I borrowed the Kino Video release of this from my public library today. I'd never heard of it before and, having just watched it, I can say I'm really amazed this is not a famous movie in the United States. I'm not sure if it's very well-known in England or not. Like another landmark British movie, BLOW-UP, THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE is directed by a foreigner. There is more attention to sound and camera-work than I've noticed in most British movies from the end of the war until about 1956 or so. Warner Brothers gets a huge credit at the start, and I'm wondering if that studio merely distributed it in the United States or if British audiences also saw "Warner Brothers" in huge letters on the screen. It has a lot in common with the Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall movies of the forties, and the screenwriter, Noel Langley, had worked in Hollywood on several movies, notably THE WIZARD OF OZ. So, it's British, but it has American and continental style. I mention Bogart. I should also mention Richard Widmark. Clem and Narcy easily could have been played by those two actors with no change in approach. There's a rooftop scene later echoed in TO CATCH A THIEF and the words "It's Later Than You Think" keep appearing, and I've seen at least two later movies which make use of that. It's scarier than the American gangster movies of the late forties.

Also, the title begs comparison to the 1939 Warner Brothers picture THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL and an early-thirties one called I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG. A typical American gangster movie from the thirties had a World War One vet who sells bootleg liquor during the Great Depression and THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE makes the protagonist a World War Two vet dealing in rationed items such as cigarettes and liquor. There seems to have been a conscious effort, in the making of this movie, to capture the audience American gangster movies had had in Britain. Perhaps there was an effort to get an American audience, too. See it for good acting, wonderful production and, most importantly, unexpected realism. If it's clichéd, it's put together so well as to seem fresh almost sixty years after it was made. And seeing Peter Bull cheered me up.


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