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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 »
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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

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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

This movie was referenced in Targets(1969) in which Karloff played a thin veiled version of himself. 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

Mark Brady: An eye for an eye. That's the basis and foundation of the criminal code. Somebody's got to pay!
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

Alternate-language version of El código penal (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Cryptic Shadows (Agitato Mysterioso)
(uncredited)
Music by Giuseppe Becce
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Criminally underrated!
10 October 2014 | by MissSimonettaSee all my reviews

The Criminal Code (1931) is often passed over when it comes to discussion of the films of Howard Hawks, but it's actually one of my favorites from him.

There are a lot of stagey aspects to be sure and the central love story is pretty boring, but there's just so much to love. The film experiments with sound, overlapping dialogue and using crowd noise as a plot element.

The two standout actors are Walter Huston and a pre-stardom Boris Karloff. Anytime either of them walks on screen, everyone else just evaporates. Huston does a great job making the audience love and despise his character. And Karloff is just mesmerizing as Galloway, a convict hell-bent on vengeance.

No masterpiece, but it is an early sign of Hawks' genius. And I would take it over Bringing Up Baby (1938) and His Girl Friday (1940) any day of the week.


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