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

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

In the diner scene when Johnny drops the $50 note, one of the other diners (Bill) claims the money saying "... That's not your money - that's my money". An actor in the background can be seen mouthing Bill's lines at the same time as Bill utters them. See more »

Quotes

Johnnie Bradfield, aka Jack Dorney: If you're rootin' for me, I'll go in there and bang the ears off the biggest guy in the world.
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

Referenced in The Projectionist (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

M-O-T-H-E-R, a Word That Means the World to Me
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Theodore Morse
Lyrics by Howard Johnson
Partially sung a cappella by Bert Roach
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Garfield scores heavily in the lead
11 May 2013 | by jjnxn-1See all my reviews

A compact drama about redemption. John Garfield, always a powerful screen presence, makes a strong impression in the lead as an initially corrupt boxer who sees the error of his ways. The Dead End Kids are well used and the sassy May Robson brightens any movie in which she appeared. Be aware that Ann Sheridan, although prominently billed, is in and out of the movie in about 5 minutes, however Gloria Dickson makes a fine showing. At this point she was considered an actress on the way up but ended up spending most of her brief career in low budget films before her death in a fire at 28. The one small problem is the casting of Claude Rains as a dogged detective. He was always a fantastic actor and gives a professional performance but the part doesn't play to his strengths of urbanity and wit. Berkeley, taking a break from musicals, maintains a brisk pace in the direction making this one of the better programmers to come out of the Warners factory.


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