6.8/10
1,864
45 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 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

The John Garfield character (Johnny Bradfield/Jack Dorney) is obsessed with not being made a sucker. The word "sucker" is used 19 times in the film. See more »

Goofs

Flames can be seen before the car hits the tree, and a spectacular fireball happens immediately after impact. While fun to watch, fireballs rarely happen quite so quickly on an accident and even more rarely before the accident happens. 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.
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

Followed by Hit the Road (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Spirit of Independence
(1912) (uncredited)
Music by Abe Holzmann
Played as Jack enters the ring for his fight
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Effortlessly entertaining.
17 July 1999 | by David-240See all my reviews

This is breezy highly entertaining drama with an excellent cast. Garfield is fine as a boxer hiding from the police with that motley crew the Dead End Kids. Most notable of these is the beautiful Billy Halop who has some very moving moments. Gloria Dickson, who in real life died very young in a house fire, is strong and very attractive as Halop's sister, and in the early scenes Ann Sheridan, on the brink of stardom, is a knock-out. May Robson is very funny as a crusty old granny, but Claude Rains proves here that even a great actor can flounder if mis-cast (whoever thought of casting him as a tough New York cop?).

Busby Berkeley proves here that he was a fine director with or without musical numbers. The film moves at a terrific pace and the water tower sequence is very suspenseful and well photographed. The ending is contrived, and the plot nothing startling or original, but I still found this a highly enjoyable experience.


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