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

 -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  6 March 1948 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 778 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 23 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 »

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(as Cavalcanti)

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Gray ...
...
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
Edit

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 | Film-Noir

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 March 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Became a Criminal  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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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
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1947) ***1/2
17 November 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This is a relatively rare example of a British film noir, but one which can hold its own alongside the more celebrated American variety. Director Cavalcanti's background in documentaries certainly served him in good stead here, bringing complete authenticity to the situations and settings. Still, thanks to Otto Heller's outstanding camera-work and lighting, he manages a number of strikingly cinematic visuals (for instance, the scene where heroine Sally Gray is beaten up by chief villain Griffith Jones).

It features a splendid cast, all of whom deliver excellent performances: Trevor Howard is an unusual hero-type but totally credible; lovely leading lady Sally Gray may come off a bit too good to be true (she initially commits herself to the framed Howard merely because her gangster boyfriend has jilted her for the latter's own fiancée!) but she elicits all the petite sex appeal of a Veronica Lake (meanwhile her love/hate banter with Howard evokes memories of the Robert Donat/Madeleine Carroll pairing from Hitchcock's THE 39 STEPS [1935]); Griffith Jones is a suave yet ruthless leader of a black-market ring (but who gets his just desserts in particularly gruesome fashion); Mary Merrall is Jones' elderly associate, whose level-headedness and experience keeps the violent gangster in check; a young Ballard Berkeley is a sympathetic Scotland Yard man, but who doesn't think twice about using Howard as bait to capture the entire gang; Peter Bull turns up for a bit as a police informer.

The general gloominess (a mainstay of thrillers emanating from the post-war era) is leavened somewhat by its constant flurry of hard-boiled dialogue courtesy of screenwriter Noel Langley. The terrific climax is set inside the gang's 'business' office - a funeral parlor, amusingly named "The Valhalla Undertaking Co.". Still, perhaps my favorite scene in the entire film is Howard's surreal encounter with the zombie-like Vida Hope - in whose household he stumbles while on the run; she turns out to be deranged, and even tries to talk our hero into murdering her alcoholic husband (Maurice Denham)!

As is typical of old films released on DVD by Kino, the quality of the print and transfer leave a lot to be desired - but one has to be grateful still, because otherwise gems such as this one would remain unavailable indefinitely...


28 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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