They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

Directed by Busby Berkeley

Crime | Drama | Film Noir

Most recently watched by sensoria


A boxer flees, believing he has committed a murder while he was drunk.

Rated NR | Length 92 minutes


Tom Dugan | John Ridgely | Mushy Callahan | Claude Rains | Ward Bond | Charles Randolph | Arthur Housman | May Robson | Louis Jean Heydt | Doris Lloyd | Bert Roach | Leyland Hodgson | Irving Bacon | Huntz Hall | Robert Strange | Dick Wessel | Cyril Ring | John Harron | Ann Sheridan | John Garfield | Janet Shaw | Cliff Clark | Gabriel Dell | Leo Gorcey | Bobby Jordan | Gloria Dickson | Billy Halop | Bernard Punsly | Robert Gleckler | Barbara Pepper | William B. Davidson | Tom Wilson | Ronald Sinclair | Elliott Sullivan | Stuart Holmes | John J. Richardson | Jack Wise | Eddy Chandler | Sam Hayes | Charles Sullivan | Donald Kerr | Frank Mayo | Clem Bevans | John Sheehan | Richard Bond | Sam McDaniel | Raymond Brown | John Dilson | Joe Cunningham | Paul Panzer | Jack Mower | Jimmy O'Gatty | Jack Austin | Nat Carr | Bob Perry | Edwin Brian | Reid Kilpatrick | Larry McGrath | Cliff Saum | Frank Meredith | Hal Craig | Harry Leroy | Georgie Cooper | Frank Riggi | Dave Roberts | Mike Donovan | Al Lloyd | Sally Sage | Dorothy Varden

Viewing Notes

The final film for my In Focus: James Wong Howe series. Not a terrible film but also not particularly outstanding, although there are some great shots in this, including one of a newspaper above the fold story being rotated to show the below the fold portion which I’ve never seen in a film before!

John Garfield plays a boxer who eventually, reluctantly ends up with a heart of gold. He’s fine in the role but not outstanding here. You get the feeling he’d have been better under a better director maybe.

Claude Rains is miscast as a NYC detective on Garfield’s trail. He doesn’t get much screen time either.

I’d never heard of the “Dead End Kids” but they get second billing as a bunch of reforming reprobates working on a farm who latch onto Garfield’s character as their idol.


11 months ago

Huh I thought Busby Berkeley only did musicals. Now I’m more curious about this one. For more on the Dead End Kids, check out DEAD END, which introduces them.

Read my notes here: