6.9/10
1,961
47 user 29 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 ruthless men! I am shunned by decent women! I am doomed to hide forever! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Busby Berkeley first made a name for himself with musical spectaculars like Footlight Parade (1933), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) and 42nd Street (1933). He persuaded Warner Brothers executives to let him do a dramatic picture, and they assigned him to this film. He didn't shed his musical association entirely, however; the film contains an "in-joke". When "Dippy" (Huntz Hall) operates the controls of a makeshift shower, he serenades the bathing "Jack/Johnnie" with "By The Waterfall", a song from Berkeley's hit "Footlight Parade". See more »

Goofs

At beginning of film, Johnny is fighting in ring in front of a packed house. Upon closer look, in at least three separate scenes, after about twelve rows of legitimate spectators (extras, actually) one can see a fake "painted crowd" to create the appearance of a house filed to capacity. The "crowd" is completely stationary, unlike the "real" crowd who are always moving, twisting, and yelling. See more »

Quotes

Ringside Radio Fight Announcer: A right to the jaw. A left to the face. Boy, is he a killer. Is he murderous. The Bull lands a terrific right to Smith's jaw, and Smith is down! It'll be best for Smith if he stays down, because this is downright murder. Smith's face is red pulp; red, red pulp. 8, 9, 10! And Smith's out. Phew! And I'm glad that's over.
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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 Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

By a Waterfall
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Irving Kahal
Whistled and partially sung by Huntz Hall
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User Reviews

A Mirror Image of another great film from the 1930's
14 September 2003 | by georgigemsSee all my reviews

I have never been a big fan of John Garfield but seeing this movie gave me a different opinion. This is a well done remake of one of my all time favorite films "The Life of Jimmy Dolan" (1933) with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. , Loretta Young , a very young Mickey Rooney and a cameo by a guy named John Wayne. That film had one of the best love songs ever "How Deep Is the Ocean" as a background to the love scenes.

Garfield plays his boxer a little more as a looser than did Doug Fairbanks but he is great in the part.

What really drew me to this film was the "ensemble" cast of the Dead End Kids as the tough reform school guys on the farm that Garfield's character helps. The ever superb (and I feel also unrated) Leo Gorcey says it all with his body language and that face as the tough mug with a ice cube for a heart. He is wonderful. As for the rest of the Bowery Boys/Dead End Kids, they are also fabulous. How they play off each other is a lesson in acting.

I would recommend this film but for the classic take on this story see the Fairbanks film. It is outstanding.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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
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