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  • Convict's Code is a surprisingly engaging little film noir about Dave Tyler, a man on parole who tries to clear his name while trying not to get thrown back in the slammer. While the reasoning why Dave is hired by a man who wants him thrown back into prison is highly ridiculous, as is the totally melodramatic conclusion, the in-betweens are great, with Robert Kent doing a fine job as the tormented parolee, and Anne Nagel equally fine as his (of course!) blonde haired girlfriend, who mustn't know that he's a parolee, because of course, they have to get permission from his parole officer! (Oh, and she's also the heavy's sister). Actually, this film carefully describes parole life back in 1939, and seems to be more of a burden on a person then it is now. Quite interesting and entertaining!
  • B-movies in the 1930s and 40s were inexpensively made and relatively short films that were shown as part of a double-feature. Many were made by "poverty row" studios--tiny independent companies that often rented space on the major studio lots at night. For the most part, Bs are entertaining enough, but also tend to have lesser actors, writers and directors--sort of like the minor leagues for movie people. Because of this, most B-films are not the quality or entertainment level of an A-picture--though there are many, many exceptions. As For me, I often prefer the Bs--they can be fun, entertaining and usually very fast-moving--as a typical B is about 60 minutes (more or less).

    The film starts with a relatively dumb ex-college football star getting out of prison after serving three years for a robbery. Dave continues to deny that he did anything wrong and vows to look up all the witnesses who testified against him and make them tell the truth. However, he needs to be careful, as he is on parole--one slip and he's back in the can. Interestingly, all but one of the witnesses against him are either dead, have moved or are killed as the ex-con talks with him. And, most importantly, they all were known criminal-types. You'd think if the guy could show that all six turned out to have such questionable backgrounds that there'd be reason for the police to re-open the case, but he tells no one--remember, he IS kind of dumb. What else is dumb is that later he does a lot of things that would violate his parole in order to try to prove his innocence. Having a gun, involvement in a NEW robbery, not returning home at night, etc. all further prove the guy is a moron. Then, when he DOES learn who the guy behind the frame-up is, he doesn't go to the police--as he's fallen in love with that man's sister. Just how stupid can a guy be?!

    "Convict's Code" is a pretty good B and might have earned a 4 despite its no-name cast--mostly because the story is pretty interesting-even if Dave is a certifiable idiot. However, the ending of the film is sort of like a "scene missing here" film--one where important action takes place off camera and it seems like this is dealt with in a slap-dash manner. It's a shame, but the ending is clearly an example of scene missing here film making--as the guy who REALLY committed the crime admits it but apparently says all this off camera!! Cheesy, clearly at the end and probably not a film to watch unless you are a B-movie fan, too.

    By the way, the best thing about the film is a bit role played by Maude Eburne. She plays the most amazingly ambivalent landlady I've ever seen and she is pretty funny. Eburne played in a lot of films over the years and was always fun--including her stint as Dr. Christian's housekeeper in the RKO series.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    We wuz robbed! This "B" has everything going for it – solid story, good acting, fast pace, convincing dialogue – except a wow of a conclusion. True, the way it all turns out is reasonably convincing, but it's rather tame. The budget was obviously blown, so a quick wind-up was ordered and suddenly the film was over! Now that's a real pity. The cast was a worthy one too. Handsome Robert Kent who never made the big time despite good looks, solid acting ability, excellent voice and his own unique but readily identifiable charisma, was a really believable hero. Charming Sidney Blackmer played his usual sneaky but hissable villain, while blunt-spoken Norman Willis filled his usual spot as Blackmer's less engaging offsider. Anne Nagel's heroine was both charming and attractive. And the movie was pacily directed by Lambert Hillyer too – right up to the cop-out conclusion. Available on a very good Alpha DVD.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    CONVICT'S CODE is a fun little programmer that runs for a scant hour and keeps that hour going thanks to the interesting 'wronged man' premise. The main character is a former prisoner now on parole and forced to live to a strict set of conditions or else he'll be thrown back into jail. The twist is that he was wrongfully accused in the first place and is now determined to clear his name.

    As with many B-movie productions, this one doesn't have any star power so is forced to get by through the strength of the story alone. In that respect it works well, with many suspenseful moments as our hero narrowly avoids his parole officer and attempts to go straight. A sappy romance threatens to de-rail the proceedings but it stays on track for the climax in which our protagonist battles some real criminal types.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There's a good deal to be said in favor of uninspired B features like "Convict's Code." They filled the bottom bill of A features like, oh, "The Wizard of Oz" or "Drums Along the Mohawk." Sometimes visitors skipped the B features but mostly they were enjoyable and distracting preludes. They made the main features look brilliant by means of what psychologists call "successive contrast."

    This is a good example of the type. It's fast, not a moment is wasted, the actors hit their marks, speak their lines the way actors spoke lines in 1939, with conviction but with few errors. The sets are sparse, the dialog instrumental. The whole point was to grind out a short and inexpensive movie of no discernible quality except the ability to make a few dollars for a poverty row house like Monogram -- best known for John Wayne westerns during the 30s.

    It succeeds. Robert Kent has been unjustly framed for a crime. Sidney Blackmer rigged the jury in order to get Kent sent to jail for reasons having to do with betting on a football game.

    Released on parole, Kent takes a lot of chances trying to track down the corrupted jury. He never does find any, and the focus of the movie shifts to his love affair with Anne Nagel who, by coincidence is Sidney Blackmer's favorite little sister.

    Nagel knows nothing of Blackmer's criminal interference with the judicial process, and in fact she and Blackmer are quite affectionate towards each other. Not to the extent that Tony Camonte was affectionate towards HIS sister, Anne Dvorak in "Scarface," but still -- Well, there are secrets kept and intrigues plotted and a murder or two takes place but it all ends happily.

    Nagel deserves a few lines. She's attractive in a curiously ordinary way. But her voice is magnetic. Her diction is perfect, her phonemes immaculate, as if she had spent her youth in one elocution class after another. She firm, candid, innocent, yet a take-charge sort of woman. It's an appealing portrait.

    In the end it's a modest and routine story of a man on parole and the ways in which that liminal state encumbers his attempt to prove his own innocence.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Parole ends up being its own prison on the outside, that's what Robert Kent finds when he is let out for a crime he claims he didn't commit. Everything would be O.K. except the guilty party is determined to send him back and tries to manipulate his parole officer into thinking the worst about him. He falls in love with the villain's sister (Anne Nagel) while trying to find out the truth, but that is impossible because somehow a gun is planted in his single room. Emulating Beaulah Bondi, "B" character actress Maude Eburne is hysterically funny as his elderly landlady, getting more scenes than landladies usually do and stealing every one of them. "You're lucky I don't make you wait outside", she tells one of Kent's visitors, also re-iterating she don't ask her tenant questions and he don't ask her none. Sidney Blackmer is appropriately smarmy as the villain, Victor Kilian rather dour, and Pat Flaherty very funny as "Sniffy". Not a film that will require much thought or concentration, but certainly an above average "B" film, and very fast moving.
  • Robert Kent is Dave Tyler, sent to prison for a bank job he didn't do. Kent played a bunch of B film roles, and died quite young at 46. In the story, Tyler is paroled, and wants to find out who dunnit. He seems to be spending all his time convincing his friends and his employer that he really didn't do it. One of his friends "Gregory" is played by Sydney Blackmer, whose best known role was probably the cult leader in Rosemary's Baby. Tyler gets into a couple of fist fights, but has to be careful not to break parole, or he'll be back in the big house! it's all quite droll. The gang that framed Tyler is following him around town as he tries to track down those who did him dirty. He walks the line of crossing the line of breaking parole, which could land him back in prison. It all moves pretty slowly.... this IS just a short 62 minutes from Monogram Pictures. Showing on Moonlight Movies... one of the free channels on roku. Directed by Lambert Hillyer, who had started directing in the early days of the silent films. In the 1950s, Hillyer moved to television, and directed TV series until 1956. Hillyer had filmed the early serial version of Batman in 1943! He seems to have retired about then, having reached the age of 66. The film is pretty average... it DOES have some OLD scenery of Los Angeles. sadly, no filming locations listed on imdb as of Sept 2018.
  • bkoganbing17 December 2015
    Convict's Code casts Robert Kent as a recently paroled convict who has Victor Kilian as his parole officer. Kent was in on a frame and now that he's out wants to find the real criminals.

    Little does he know that he's being employed by them, Sidney Blackmer and Norman Willis. It's Blackmer's way of keeping tabs on a man whom he knows is seeking the real crooks.

    Everywhere Kent goes people keep getting dead or are already dead. It's frustrating.

    What's wrong with this film is that Blackmer who is portrayed as really slick makes a sentimental decision that undoes everything for him. It has to do with Kent seeing Anne Nagel who is Blackmer's younger sister. The whole idea was badly plotted. The fault could be Monogram Pictures butchered editing techniques which were legendary.

    This is one sub-par noir crime drama.
  • Former football star Dave " Whizz " Tyler is convicted of a robbery and spends three years in jail . Given parole he faces completing the remaining six years if he breaks his parole but vows that he's innocent of the crime and will do everything to prove it

    You don't need to be a jailbird to know the convicts code - you don't snitch . If a tunnel suddenly appears in the next cell and you suddenly find a pneumatic drill in your own cell then you invoke the Nuremberg defence of " I didn't hear anything , I didn't see anything , this has got nothing to do with me " and you'll probably live long enough to complete your sentence

    With a title like CONVICT'S CODE you could be forgiven for thinking you're going to be watching the similar sounding premise of EACH DAWN I DIE where an innocent man who has been framed trying to clear his name surrounded by hardened criminals . This isn't how the film works out . Instead we get Whizz Tyler walking about from one cheap studio set to another with not very good actors who are marginally just less wooden than the sets

    There's also something that puzzled me and that is Whizz continually claims to be innocent to everyone including the prison Warden and his parole officer and I kept wondering how the parole board works in America . In Scottish and English law someone is only eligible for parole if they admit to the crime and are genuinely sorry they did the crime . Someone claiming they are innocent wouldn't in theory qualify . Of course the practise is entirely different and we've been treated to some truly hideous sights like Johnathan King calling a press conference on his day of release saying his victims were lying and he can prove it . Needless to say we're still waiting for this evidence to surface . I was under the impression that America does tend to be a lot stricter about parole and its granting of it
  • Five years ago, Sidney Blackmer framed Robert Kent for a robbery. Now Kent's friends have gotten him out on parole, and he's to work for Blackmer, who wants to keep a watch on him; he figures he can always violate him back to prison. Kent is trying to find the witnesses who falsely identified him, but he and Blackmer's sister, Anne Neagle, have fallen in love.

    It's a B movie plot, and John Krafft's script is B movie material, and it's a Monogram picture. The cast is good, though, and the director is Lambert Hillyer, who had been an A director for William S. Hart, and he works the scenes at a crackling pace and his actors make their lines sound convincing, turning the film into a variation of the Good Bad Man movies that Hillyer and Hart had done. It's clear that the production was done on the cheap,and Hillyer would never venture beyond B westerns and the occasional serial again. However this is a nice little movie to cap his non-western career.
  • A former football star named Dave "Whizz" Tyler (Robert Kent) is released from prison on parole and gets a good job, partly due to the head of the sports department at the newspaper having written that Tyler will need a job on release. Tyler swears he was framed and spends his time trying to find out who sent him up the river, even risking parole violations to do it. Along the way, he falls for the sister of his new employer, and that's its own trouble on multiple fronts.

    This was a fairly standard story, but enjoyable, with an interesting ending involving Tyler's boss. Kent was likeable and played it cool, never going over the top, where others might have. I liked how the sports writer, played by Ben Alexander, played into things. Victor Kilian as the parole officer and Maude Eburne as the whiny landlady were good too.

    I wouldn't say rush out and see this one, but it is a decent way to spend an hour.

    P.S. The poster here is for the wrong movie. Perhaps for the 1930 movie of the same name? No idea who that kid is.
  • artpf30 October 2013
    Former football star Dave " Whizz " Tyler is convicted of a robbery and spends three years in jail . Given parole he faces completing the remaining six years if he breaks his parole but vows that he's innocent of the crime and will do everything to prove it

    Sort of a dumb premise. All American type spends 3 years in prison for robbery? Huh? If he's paroled after 3 years what was his sentence? like 12? Today he'd get released before trial.

    It's really not a very good movie. Even for the time. It's sort of very heavy handed, rather talkie and boring. Also more no logical sense most of the time.

    Everybody is a stereotype and the movie's attempt at humor falls flatter than a pancake too. Not a keeper