They Made Me a Criminal

THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL. 1939

Director: Busby Berkley

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Busby Berkley, better known for his dance musicals, directs a competent, captivating crime drama. A boxer in New York (John Garfield looking boyish & tough) is wrongly accused of murder & retreats into the life of a hobo. In time he stumbles onto a small failing farm in Arizona where some New York juvenile delinquents were previously sent.

The farm becomes the boxer's sanctuary & spiritual redemption as he learns to love the boys & falls in love with their beautiful mentor (Gloria Dickson as the good girlfriend). But a murder rap secretly hangs over his head & a police detective (Claude Raines in a most sympathetic role) is hot on his trail.

In this likeable film there are colorful incidents with the Dead End Kids: a swim in a water tank that almost goes bad when it is half drained for irrigation & the kids can't climb out of the tank; the kids' comical poker game with a rich kid, winning his clothes & his wind-up motion picture camera. Leo & the gang turn in real performances here; they're funny but not the nonstop jokesters they would later play in the long running Bowery Boys films.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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