They Made Me a Criminal (Warner Bros 1939, John Garfield, Claude Rains)

They Made Me A Criminal

Musical fantasist Busby Berkeley takes on the Warner Bros. crime genre in They Made Me A Criminal and the result is a fascinating portrait of a man with a second chance.

John Garfield, a drunken lout of a boxing champion, hightails it when the headlines say he killed a reporter and then died in a fiery car wreck. He lands at a camp for troubled kids and sees a chance for redemption in the faces of the Dead End Kids. Berkeley’s choreographic skills pay off in terrific boxing action.

They Made Me a Criminal marked the first leading role for John Garfield, following his 1938 screen debut, Four Daughters. He had already made Blackwell’s Island (1939), but Warner Bros. shelved it until Four Daughters came out.

Remake of The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933).

Cast: John Garfield, Claude Rains, May Robson, Ann Sheridan

Director: Busby Berkeley
Producer: Benjamin Glazer
Director of Photography: James Wong Howe
Editor: Jack Killifer
Composer: Max Steiner
Screenwriter: Sig Herzig
Production Designer: Anton Grot

USA / Warner Bros / 92 minutes / 1939 black and white

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