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I Became a Criminal (1947)

They Made Me a Fugitive (original title)
Approved | | Crime , Drama | 6 March 1948 (USA)
After WW2, former RAF airman Clem Morgan joins a gang of black-market smugglers-thieves but when a robbery goes wrong, Clem is caught , framed for a policeman's murder, and is sent to prison where he plots his escape and revenge.

Director:

Alberto Cavalcanti (as Cavalcanti)

Writers:

Jackson Budd (novel), Noel Langley (screenplay)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Gray ... Sally
Trevor Howard ... Clem
Griffith Jones ... Narcy
Rene Ray Rene Ray ... Cora
Mary Merrall ... Aggie
Charles Farrell ... Curley
Michael Brennan Michael Brennan ... Jim
Jack McNaughton Jack McNaughton ... Soapy
Cyril Smith Cyril Smith ... Bert
John Penrose John Penrose ... Shawney
Eve Ashley Eve Ashley ... Ellen
Phyllis Robins Phyllis Robins ... Olga
Bill O'Connor Bill O'Connor ... Bill
Maurice Denham Maurice Denham ... Mr. Fenshaw
Vida Hope Vida Hope ... Mrs. Fenshaw
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Storyline

In this gritty film noir, cynical ex-RAF flyer Morgan, bored with civilian life, joins a break-in gang led by Narcy. On his first job, the getaway car crashes after killing a policeman. Morgan is framed as the driver and sent to jail. Seeking revenge, he escapes and heads for London. Along the way he's helped by a woman (Mrs. Fenshaw), who wants him to murder her husband. In London, Morgan is sheltered by Sally, who falls in love with him. He confronts Narcy and the gang in an abandoned warehouse. Brazilian Director Cavalcanti's crime drama should not be confused with the totally unrelated "They Made Me a Criminal" (1939). Written by Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Gangway for Gangland's Blazing Guns!

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Became a Criminal See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Trevor Howard was cast at very short notice after the actor first cast dropped out. See more »

Soundtracks

Caress Me
(uncredited)
Performed on-stage by Phyllis Robins and others
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User Reviews

Noir Sleeper
9 September 2009 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

A British noir as good as the definitive ones being turned out in the States by such consensus masters as Mann, Dassin, and Lewis, to name three. And what about that great ending that still leaves me flabbergasted. Three cheers for a British cinema that apparently was able to operate without the albatross of a Production Code and still not wreck the nation's moral fiber. Needless to say, those final few minutes would never have been allowed Stateside where the scales of justice always triumphed, no matter how the world really works.

Then too, consider the household Howard stumbles into by accident, where the zoned out housewife is only too eager to perforate her boozy hubby. One look at that demented visage and she's a lot scarier than any of the professionals. No wonder Howard flees back to the safety of London's underworld. This may also be the cheapest electricity bill on record since the brightest sound-stage bulb checks in at about 60 watts—they don't call it "noir" for nothing. And keep an ear cocked for some of the snappiest dialogue this side of Dashiel Hammett, especially from that old crone Aggie, who, I shudder to think, might actually be somebody's grandmother.

Not that everything is roses. Some of the set-ups operate only at a stretch. For example, Howard's aim with a milk bottle should have him pitching for the Yankees. And he does it with such casual flair, you'd never guess his life is on the line. Nonetheless, the movie's a real sleeper and should have been exported to our shores a lot sooner. I expect, that daring finale would have inspired our own filmmakers to greater sneaky lengths in subverting the dead hand of Hollywood censorship.


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