They Made Me a Criminal

Overview

An engaging programmer from 1939 gets a fairly decent DVD edition from Triton. The original source material shows some running scratches of various severity, but also seems to have had some restorative work done during the transfer process. The image maintains the original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, and appears to be anamorphic; on normal televisions and monitors extremely narrow bars will be visible. The print used is a little lacking in contrast, but does have good solid blacks with decent shadows. The image is ...
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DVD (Black & White)
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Overview

An engaging programmer from 1939 gets a fairly decent DVD edition from Triton. The original source material shows some running scratches of various severity, but also seems to have had some restorative work done during the transfer process. The image maintains the original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, and appears to be anamorphic; on normal televisions and monitors extremely narrow bars will be visible. The print used is a little lacking in contrast, but does have good solid blacks with decent shadows. The image is unfortunately rather soft throughout, although grain and artifacting are absent and the picture is quite easy to watch. The dual-channel mono sound is good, considering the source, and generally manages to avoid distortion. Hiss and rumble have been removed in places, but are quite obvious in others. There are no subtitles. There are 13 chapter stops. The disc includes PC Friendly (promotional links, for the most part) and is packaged in a jewel case.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
They Made Me a Criminal is an unusual movie, as well as an unusually good movie, on numerous counts. For starters, it is, along with John Huston's version of The Maltese Falcon, one of a handful of Hollywood remakes that are better than the original movies that they followed. Mostly, this comes from John Garfield's excellent performance as Johnny Bradfield/Jack Dorney, the vain, self-centered opportunist who finds a better side of himself at the lowest point in his life -- Garfield is good throughout the movie, but he is brilliant in the scenes in which he is staring adversity and then doom right in the face. He is supported by an excellent cast, including some of the best work ever done by those resident Warner Bros. delinquents the Dead End Kids, with a top-notch performance by Billy Halop as their leader. Along with Angels With Dirty Faces, this was the best of the Warner Bros. movies in which they appeared. Also notable were a pair of fine, earthy, lusty performances by Gloria Dickson and May Robson, as the two women who come to believe in Garfield's character. For most viewers the only weak link was Claude Rains as Detective Phelan -- most viewers find it hard to accept Rains as a tough New York detective, but he is sincere in his performance and suppresses his accent sufficiently to pull off the portrayal, despite some apparently awkward moments with the role. The movie was also extraordinary as the final Warner Bros. film of Busby Berkeley, who had begged and cajoled the studio for non-musical projects and so they gave him this film, a remake of the 1933 drama The Life of Jimmy Dolan. Berkeley ran with it, turning the movie into a showcase for more than half a dozen actors and even making room for a notably sympathetic performance from Louis Jean Heydt, playing a would-be boxer who is even more desperate for money than Dorney. Berkeley applied his skills at visual presentation, acquired in numerous musicals, to the fight sequence at the movie's climax with memorably brutal results. The movie was also one of the last of the major Warner Bros. movies to deal with the consequences of the Great Depression -- by 1940-1941, in the wake of the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe, and the gradual move toward re-armament of the United States, the lingering traces of unemployment would be forgotten; seen today They Made Me a Criminal offers a last look back at an impoverished but still resourceful America of the late '30s.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/30/2002
  • UPC: 089218402097
  • Original Release: 1939
  • Rating:

  • Source: Alpha Video
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 16,948

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Garfield Johnny Bradfield/"Jack Dorney"
Gloria Dickson Peggy
Bobby Jordan Angel
Claude Rains Detective Monty Phelan
Leo Gorcey Spit
Ann Sheridan Goldie
Huntz Hall Dippy
Billy Halop Tommy
Gabriel Dell T.B.
Bernard Punsly Milty
Robert Gleckler Doc Ward
John Ridgely Charlie Magee
Barbara Pepper Budgie
Ward Bond Lenihan, fight promoter
Robert Strange Malvin
Louis Jean Heydt Smith
Frank Riggi Gaspar Rutchek
Ray Brown Sheriff
Sam Hayes Fight Announcer
Jack Austin
Irving Bacon Speed, Gas Station Attendant
Clem Bevans Ticket Taker
Richard Bond Reporter
Nat Carr Reporter
Eddy Chandler Detective
Cliff Clark Rutchek's Manager
Hal Craig Detective
William B. Davidson Inspector Ennis
Dead End Kids
Tom Dugan Man
Leyland Hodgson Mr. Williamson
Stuart Holmes Timekeeper
Arthur Houseman Drunk
Doris Lloyd Mrs. Williamson
Al Lloyd Man
Frank Mayo Man
Sam McDaniel Splash
Frank Meredith Cop
Bob Perry Cawley
Bert Roach Hendricks
May Robson Grandma
Cliff Saum Man
John Sheehan Man
Ronald Sinclair J. Douglas Williamson
Elliott Sullivan Hoodlum
Dick Wessel Collucci
Jack Wise Ticketman
Technical Credits
Busby Berkeley Director
Milo Anderson Costumes/Costume Designer
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Benjamin Glazer Producer
Anton Grot Art Director
Sig Herzig Screenwriter
James Wong Howe Cinematographer
Jack Killifer Editor
Russ Saunders Asst. Director
Max Steiner Score Composer
Hal B. Wallis Producer
Jack L. Warner Producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [17:58]
2. Chapter 2 [20:16]
3. Chapter 3 [16:54]
4. Chapter 4 [18:53]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Index
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