7.2/10
1,366
33 user 28 critic

I Became a Criminal (1947)

They Made Me a Fugitive (original title)
Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 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)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sally Gray ... Sally
Trevor Howard ... Clem
Griffith Jones ... Narcy
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 ... Shawney
Eve Ashley Eve Ashley ... Ellen
Phyllis Robins Phyllis Robins ... Olga
Bill O'Connor Bill O'Connor ... Bill
Maurice Denham ... Mr. Fenshaw
Vida Hope Vida Hope ... Mrs. Fenshaw
Edit

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 | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature-film debut of Michael Brennan. See more »

Goofs

Morgan, unconscious in the accident after the policeman is run down, is framed when the thugs pull him over to the driver's seat. But they do not press his fingers onto the steering wheel, so there is no evidence that he was the driver. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Fenshaw: Nobody will arrest you while you are in this house. I give you my word.
Clem: Why? Have you fallen in love with my beautiful wavy hair?
Mrs. Fenshaw: No. You can do me a service in return for helping you.
See more »

Soundtracks

Caress Me
(uncredited)
Performed on-stage by Phyllis Robins and others
See more »

User Reviews

 
THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1947) ***1/2
17 November 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This is a relatively rare example of a British film noir, but one which can hold its own alongside the more celebrated American variety. Director Cavalcanti's background in documentaries certainly served him in good stead here, bringing complete authenticity to the situations and settings. Still, thanks to Otto Heller's outstanding camera-work and lighting, he manages a number of strikingly cinematic visuals (for instance, the scene where heroine Sally Gray is beaten up by chief villain Griffith Jones).

It features a splendid cast, all of whom deliver excellent performances: Trevor Howard is an unusual hero-type but totally credible; lovely leading lady Sally Gray may come off a bit too good to be true (she initially commits herself to the framed Howard merely because her gangster boyfriend has jilted her for the latter's own fiancée!) but she elicits all the petite sex appeal of a Veronica Lake (meanwhile her love/hate banter with Howard evokes memories of the Robert Donat/Madeleine Carroll pairing from Hitchcock's THE 39 STEPS [1935]); Griffith Jones is a suave yet ruthless leader of a black-market ring (but who gets his just desserts in particularly gruesome fashion); Mary Merrall is Jones' elderly associate, whose level-headedness and experience keeps the violent gangster in check; a young Ballard Berkeley is a sympathetic Scotland Yard man, but who doesn't think twice about using Howard as bait to capture the entire gang; Peter Bull turns up for a bit as a police informer.

The general gloominess (a mainstay of thrillers emanating from the post-war era) is leavened somewhat by its constant flurry of hard-boiled dialogue courtesy of screenwriter Noel Langley. The terrific climax is set inside the gang's 'business' office - a funeral parlor, amusingly named "The Valhalla Undertaking Co.". Still, perhaps my favorite scene in the entire film is Howard's surreal encounter with the zombie-like Vida Hope - in whose household he stumbles while on the run; she turns out to be deranged, and even tries to talk our hero into murdering her alcoholic husband (Maurice Denham)!

As is typical of old films released on DVD by Kino, the quality of the print and transfer leave a lot to be desired - but one has to be grateful still, because otherwise gems such as this one would remain unavailable indefinitely...


35 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 33 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed