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43 user 28 critic

They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 January 1939 (USA)
A boxer flees believing he has comitted a murder while he was drunk.

Director:

Busby Berkeley

Writers:

Sig Herzig (screen play), Bertram Millhauser (from a novel by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Garfield ... Johnnie
The Dead End Kids The Dead End Kids ... (as The 'Dead End' Kids)
Claude Rains ... Detective Phelan
Ann Sheridan ... Goldie
May Robson ... Grandma
Gloria Dickson ... Peggy
Billy Halop ... Tommy
Bobby Jordan ... Angel
Leo Gorcey ... Spit
Huntz Hall ... Dippy
Gabriel Dell ... T.B.
Bernard Punsly ... Milt (as Bernard Punsley)
Robert Gleckler ... Doc Ward
John Ridgely ... Magee
Barbara Pepper ... Budgie
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Storyline

Johnnie is a boxer. The same evening he won the world championship, he is charged for the murder of a reporter and is taken for dead. Running away from New York, he ends up in a ranch in Arizona, run by an old lady as a work farm for delinquent teenagers. He falls in love with Peggy and became the teenagers' hero. But there is that New York Detective, Phelan, that does not believe he is dead and is chasing him... An unlikely scenario, but not a so bad film. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

I am a fugitive! I am hunted by the mob! I am wanted by the cops! I am forgotten by decent women! (re-release print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Became a Criminal See more »

Filming Locations:

Palm Desert, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Apparently, the copyright on this film was not renewed, and so it fell into public domain. As a result, discount VHS and DVD dealers, who do not ordinarily include copyrighted major studio titles in their inventories, do offer this one. Unfortunately, since they don't have access to original negative material, the transfers are usually inferior. See more »

Goofs

The newspaper reporter is killed in the boxer's room, and the boxer is passed out in the same room, but the next day the reporter is reported as being dead, so someone must have found the body - so how did they find the dead reporter but not see the sleeping boxer? He woke up the next day when the paper that mentions the dead reporter hits his door. See more »

Quotes

J. Douglas Williamson: You think you're smart, don't you?
Spit: They call us "the Six Geniuses."
See more »

Alternate Versions

The AFI Catalogue has a different cast ordering, suggesting that changes were made for a re-release. Ann Sheridan is billed 6th and there are other minor changes when compared with the print currently shown on Turner Classic Movies, on which the data in IMDb is based. It is uncertain which is the original print. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kleingeistganoven (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

M-O-T-H-E-R, a Word That Means the World to Me
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore Morse
Lyrics by Howard Johnson
Partially sung a cappella by Bert Roach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Busby Berkeley smoothly shifts gears from geometric dancing girls to neat little crime drama
20 January 1999 | by boris-26See all my reviews

Known for his wonderfully cinematic dance sequences, Busby Berkeley went for a different genre in this fine 1939 crime drama. A youthful John Garfield plays Johnnie, a tough NYC boxer who scores a big break in the ring. He attends a drunken private party where a news reporter is murdered. The killer himself dies in a flaming auto wreck, but not before he successfully shifts the blame to Johnny. Johnny flees the city and hides out at a small boy's camp out west, populated by everyone's favorite wayward street gang, The Dead End Kids. All seems fine in this hide-out until a NYC detective (Claude Rains) who was on the murder case, happens by. Berkeley keeps the film going at a terrific pace. Berkeley would never settle for a point-and-shoot look to his film. His camera is all over the place, even underwater when the kids take over a water tank. There's all the stock characters of old cinema her e- the nice girl who softens Garfield's heart, the spry old grannie, the tough NYC cops and reporters. Fun movie.


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