20 user 13 critic

You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 20 May 1939 (USA)
Youthful tough Johnnie Stone has fallen under the influence of petty crook Frank Wilson, who involves him and robbery and murder using his sister's boyfriend's stolen gun.


Lewis Seiler


Robert Buckner (screen play), Don Ryan (screen play) | 3 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Frank Wilson
Gale Page ... Madge Stone
Billy Halop ... Johnnie Stone
John Litel ... Attorney Carey
Henry Travers ... Pop
Harvey Stephens ... Fred Burke
Harold Huber ... Scappa
Joe Sawyer ... Red
Joe Downing Joe Downing ... Smitty
George E. Stone ... Toad
Joe King ... Principal Keeper (as Joseph King)
Joseph Crehan ... Warden
John Ridgely ... Gas Station Attendant
Herbert Rawlinson ... District Attorney


Johnnie learns crime from petty thug Frank Wilson. When Wilson kills a pawnbroker with a gun stolen from Johnnie's sister Madge's fiance Fred Burke, Fred goes to Sing Sing's death house. Wilson uses all the pressure can to keep Johnnie silent, even after he and Johnnie themselves wind up in the big house. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A dramatic bombshell ! See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Three actors listed in Studio records as being in this film were not seen in the movie. These were (with their character names): Nat Carr (Convict), Lane Chandler (Guard) and Joe Devlin (Prisoner). See more »


The same exact location is used three times in the chase scene after the gas station hold up. The motorcycle cop, chasing Frank and Johnie, drives through a curve with a huge rock face on his right, woods on his left. Then Frank and Johnie drive through that same location, and appear once again at that same location when they turn off the road. See more »


Toad: I like this book. Ain't got no pictures in it.
See more »


Referenced in Invisible Stripes (1939) See more »

User Reviews

"They're smart but I'm smarter -- I pay income tax."
12 September 2016 | by utgard14See all my reviews

One of those fun urban crime dramas that Warner Bros. excelled at in the 1930s. This one stars Humphrey Bogart as a crook who corrupts teenage street tough Billy Halop (sans the rest of the Dead End Kids) into committing armed robbery and framing Halop's sister's boyfriend for murder. Soon Bogie and Halop are arrested and sent to prison together while the boyfriend (dull Harvey Stephens) faces possible execution for a crime he didn't commit.

Bogart is fine in a role he could play in his sleep but he doesn't get as much to do as Halop, who WB clearly had high hopes for. Halop is alright when he's playing to his Dead End Kids persona but when he gets melodramatic, the result is over the top. Great character actors like Henry Travers, Harold Huber, John Litel, Joseph Crehan, and Joe Sawyer add color to the cast and liven things up. Travers is especially good. Lovely Gale Page plays Halop's sister and gives a sympathetic turn. It's not one of the better examples from this genre but I doubt many fans will complain about it or feel like it's time wasted.

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Release Date:

20 May 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chalked Out See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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