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The Criminal Code (1930)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 3 January 1931 (USA)
After a failed attempt at running for governor, D.A. Mark Brady is appointed warden of the state prison where many of the criminals he prosecuted are incarcerated.

Director:

Howard Hawks (uncredited)

Writers:

Martin Flavin (from the stage play by), Fred Niblo Jr. (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Walter Huston ... Mark Brady
Phillips Holmes ... Robert Graham
Constance Cummings ... Mary Brady
Boris Karloff ... Galloway
DeWitt Jennings ... Captain Gleason (as De Witt Jennings)
Mary Doran ... Gertrude Williams
Ethel Wales ... Katie Ryan
Clark Marshall ... Runch
Arthur Hoyt ... Leonard Nettleford
John St. Polis ... Dr. Rinewulf
Paul Porcasi ... Tony Spelvin (as Paul Porcassi)
Otto Hoffman ... Jim Fales
John Sheehan ... McManus
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Storyline

A wily D.A.(Brady) gets a 10 year conviction of a young 20 year old (Robert Graham)who he knows killed a man in self defense. Years later Brady becomes warden of the prison holding Graham. When Brady realizes that 6 years of working in the prison jute mill has pushed Graham to the breaking point, he gives him a chance- a new job as his valet. Graham responds well and earns the respect of both the warden and his beautiful daughter. Graham's mettle is put to the test when he stumbles onto a prison murder committed by his cell-mate. He must choose between the criminal code of silence and the warden's strong persuasion to reveal the killer. Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BIGGER THAN "THE BIG HOUSE" -And You Know How Big That Was! (Print Ad- Albany Evening News, ((Albany, NY)) 10 January 1931)

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 January 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Codice penale See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The prison yard sequence was shot at M-G-M, using the set originally built for "The Big House" (1930). See more »

Goofs

Robert calculates there are 52,560 hours in six years. However, he forgets leap years with their extra day. So, in a span of six years there would actually be 52,584 or 52,608 hours, depending on if that period included one or two leap years. See more »

Quotes

Mary Brady: What good is it to save a man if you destroy him while you're doing it?
Mark Brady: Yeah, I thought of that myself.
Mary Brady: Prison is full of men like that with broken minds and souls. What good is it to save a man for that when he'd be better off dead?
Mark Brady: Yes, I've thought of that too.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's credits do not say that Howard Hawks directed the film; instead, they say that the film is "A Howard Hawks Production." See more »

Connections

Edited into Behind the Mask (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

Accusation
(uncredited)
Music by J.S. Zamecnik
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the best prison movies ever made
28 November 2006 | by HandlinghandelSee all my reviews

I would say it is THE best except for my fondness for "Caged." This is a brilliant movie, as shocking as Hawks's "Scarface," released a year later and far better known.

Walter Huston is a district attorney when we met him. Throughout, he is given to the one word, catchall statement or response "Yeah." Huston has rarely if ever been better -- and he was one of the greats of Hollywood history.

Phillips Holmes is excellent as a young man he sends to prison. He is innocent in all senses before he gets there. But he quickly leans the code of the title.

Constance Cummins isn't given much as Huston's daughter but she is appealing. However, Boris Karloff gives one of his very finest performances as a tough but decent prisoner. Of course, of course he is fine in "Frankenstein." And he is wildly brilliant in "Lured" many years later. Here he gives a solid, unadorned, moving performance.

Clark Marshall, a name I do not recognize, is also fine. He plays a sniveling, conniving inmate. And DeWitt Jennings is shocking as a brutal guard.

Amazingly, I had never seen this movie before tonight. It's bone I will want to see again; and I urge you to see it, too.


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