They Made Me A Criminal

  • 1939
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime, Sports

Seeking to capitalize on the sensation made by their new young actor John Garfield in FOUR DAUGHTERS (1938), Warner Bros. immediately cast him in this remake of the 1933 boxing-crime drama THE LIFE OF JIMMY DOLAN. Garfield plays Johnnie Bradfield, a recently crowned world champion boxer whose public image is that of a kind, gentle, clean-cut kid who is...read more

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Seeking to capitalize on the sensation made by their new young actor John Garfield in FOUR DAUGHTERS (1938), Warner Bros. immediately cast him in this remake of the 1933 boxing-crime drama THE LIFE OF JIMMY DOLAN. Garfield plays Johnnie Bradfield, a recently crowned world champion boxer

whose public image is that of a kind, gentle, clean-cut kid who is devoted to his mother. In reality, Johnnie is a cynical, heavy-drinking womanizer who hasn't given as much as a thought to his mother in years. One morning, he awakens from a drunken stupor to read in the newspaper that he has

murdered a reporter and then gotten killed in a fiery car crash. The boxer's seedy lawyer advises him to stay "dead" and beat it out of town, while Monty Phelan (Claude Rains), the detective assigned to the case, suspects that Johnnie is alive and becomes obsessed with finding him. THEY MADE ME A

CRIMINAL begins with Garfield once again playing the fatalistic, cynical, tough guy from the slums, but his personality undergoes a change during the film and by the conclusion he has attained a minor state of grace. Seeing himself in the faces of a group of troubled youngsters (the Dead End Kids,

later the Bowery Boys), Johnnie is able to identify his problems and work to eradicate them for the boys and himself. Surprisingly, the film was helmed by Busby Berkeley (best known for his brilliantly choreographed musicals), who here directed in the trademark Warners' style: gritty, fast-paced,

and sometimes brutally realistic, transferring his choreographic talents from the stage to the boxing ring. Berkeley and cameraman James Wong Howe created some vivid fight scenes that wouldn't be outdone until Garfield's magnum opus, BODY AND SOUL, in 1947, which was also photographed by Howe.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Seeking to capitalize on the sensation made by their new young actor John Garfield in FOUR DAUGHTERS (1938), Warner Bros. immediately cast him in this remake of the 1933 boxing-crime drama THE LIFE OF JIMMY DOLAN. Garfield plays Johnnie Bradfield, a recent… (more)

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