They Made Me a Criminal (1939)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir


They Made Me a Criminal (1939) Poster

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


6.9/10
2,072

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24 October 2005 | Snow Leopard
An Unusual Blend of Talent Comes Together Very Well
The blend of talent in "They Made Me A Criminal" is rather unusual, with John Garfield, who was at his best in film-noir type settings, Claude Rains, a skilled and classy character actor, and the Dead End Kids, best known for more boisterous material. The story is written to give all of them some good moments, and as a whole it works quite well.

Garfield gets a tailor-made role as a boxing champion who goes on the run after he is set up and framed. It was Garfield's misfortune that perhaps his best role, in "The Postman Always Rings Twice", was overshadowed (through no fault of his own, since it would have happened to almost anyone in the role) by Lana Turner's unforgettable performance. Here, Garfield gets the chance to show what he can do, showing a tough side, a cynical side, and, at the right times, a somewhat more thoughtful side.

The story is very interesting, and other than a couple of slightly implausible developments, it works well in mixing some different kinds of material and settings. The supporting cast all does well, although Rains has to battle with his role, as a tough-cop character that doesn't really make the best use of his strengths.

In keeping everything together and on-track, Busby Berkeley shows the same kind of skill that enabled him to produce the variety numbers for which he was better known. He comes in for his share of the credit here in creating an interesting movie with some unusual features.

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