They Made Me a Criminal


Crime Drama
92 min     6.34     1939     USA


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


CinemaSerf wrote:
This is one of these films that you need to allow quite a bit of latitude, else you will rule it just too implausible and stop watching. John Garfield ("Johnnie") is a world champion boxer who finds himself embroiled in the death of a journalist. His problem is, he was totally sozzled after his victory so cannot recall what he did, or didn't, do - so absconds to a remote Arizona ranch where he helps the elderly May Robson who runs a refuge for wayward teenagers. That's where he meets, and falls for "Peggy" (Gloria Dickson) and settles down to a respectable life helping teach the boys how to focus their energies on boxing. Thing is, New York plod "Whelan" (Claude Rains) is on his case, and soon this newly found utopia is at risk... Garfield does a fitting job here, he is eminently plausible as the flawed prizefighter and his character's evolution as the story develops is engaging too. Rains features sparingly for much of the film, and I found his efforts a little disappointingly constrained when he did appear. The film really, for me anyway, belonged to the "Dead End Kids" - playing the best game of strip poker I think I've ever seen in a family movie. It's a bit too long, but has good pace, plenty of action, decent dialogue and the romance is kept to a minimum - well worth a watch.