Penitentiary (1938)

78-79 mins | Drama | 17 January 1938

Full page view
HISTORY

An earlier film adaptation of Martin Flavin's play was made by Columbia in 1931 under the title The Criminal Code, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Walter Huston (see entry). The story was adapted a third time by Columbia in 1950 as Convicted, with Henry Levin directing and Glenn Ford and Broderick Crawford starring. ...

More Less

An earlier film adaptation of Martin Flavin's play was made by Columbia in 1931 under the title The Criminal Code, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Walter Huston (see entry). The story was adapted a third time by Columbia in 1950 as Convicted, with Henry Levin directing and Glenn Ford and Broderick Crawford starring.

Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
2 Feb 1938
p. 3
Film Daily
5 Feb 1938
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 1938
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
4 Feb 1938
p. 7
Motion Picture Herald
5 Feb 1938
p. 53
New York Times
7 Mar 1938
p. 13
Variety
26 Jan 1938
p. 15
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Morris Stoloff
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Spec weather eff
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Criminal Code by Martin Flavin (New York, 2 Oct 1929).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 January 1938
Production Date:
26 Oct--22 Nov 1937
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
15 January 1938
LP7737
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
78-79
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3862
SYNOPSIS

William Jordan, a naive young man celebrating his twenty-first birthday, is arrested after he hits a man who was acting improperly toward his friend, Blanche Williams, and the man, the son of an influential banker, dies. District attorney Thomas Matthews knows that a good attorney could win an acquittal for Will, but he convinces Leonard Nettleford, Will's ill-equipped counsel, to plead manslaughter in the case. After serving six years of a ten-year sentence, Will learns that his mother has died, and Matthews, the new prison warden, at the request of the prison doctor, allows Will to work as chauffeur to his daughter, Elizabeth. Will quickly falls in love with Elizabeth and tells her that parole is unimportant when compared to being with her. Meanwhile, Will's cellmates, Jack Hawkins and Finch, are planning an escape with Tex and Runch. During the escape, Finch is killed and Runch seeks refuge in Matthews' office, thereby marking himself an informer. Then, just as Will is about to be paroled, Runch is killed by Hawkins and Matthews tries to get Will to talk. However, Will refuses to break the "criminal code" by informing on a fellow prisoner. The heartless Captain Grady, who sent Hawkins back to jail for breaking parole by drinking a beer, sends Will to the dungeon run. Elizabeth informs her father that she loves Will, and just as Matthews is about to order Will paroled, he learns that Hawkins has killed Grady because he did not want Will to be forced to take the rap for Runch's death. After Hawkins admits killing Runch, he is shot, and Will and Elizabeth leave the ...

More Less

William Jordan, a naive young man celebrating his twenty-first birthday, is arrested after he hits a man who was acting improperly toward his friend, Blanche Williams, and the man, the son of an influential banker, dies. District attorney Thomas Matthews knows that a good attorney could win an acquittal for Will, but he convinces Leonard Nettleford, Will's ill-equipped counsel, to plead manslaughter in the case. After serving six years of a ten-year sentence, Will learns that his mother has died, and Matthews, the new prison warden, at the request of the prison doctor, allows Will to work as chauffeur to his daughter, Elizabeth. Will quickly falls in love with Elizabeth and tells her that parole is unimportant when compared to being with her. Meanwhile, Will's cellmates, Jack Hawkins and Finch, are planning an escape with Tex and Runch. During the escape, Finch is killed and Runch seeks refuge in Matthews' office, thereby marking himself an informer. Then, just as Will is about to be paroled, Runch is killed by Hawkins and Matthews tries to get Will to talk. However, Will refuses to break the "criminal code" by informing on a fellow prisoner. The heartless Captain Grady, who sent Hawkins back to jail for breaking parole by drinking a beer, sends Will to the dungeon run. Elizabeth informs her father that she loves Will, and just as Matthews is about to order Will paroled, he learns that Hawkins has killed Grady because he did not want Will to be forced to take the rap for Runch's death. After Hawkins admits killing Runch, he is shot, and Will and Elizabeth leave the prison together.

Less

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

The Wizard of Oz

The following dedication appears in the opening credits: “For nearly forty years this story has given faithful service to the Young in Heart; and Time has been powerless to ... >>

The White Tower

Contemporary news items add the following information about the production: RKO purchased James Ramsey Ullman's novel in Mar 1946 for $150,000. At that time, Edward Dmytryk was assigned to ... >>

Tight Spot

The working title of this film was Dead Pidgeon . Doye O'Dell appears throughout the film in a running "gag" as a TV telethon host, satirizing the ... >>

King of Jazz

The 4 Jan 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World announced that the production starting date was 4 Nov 1929.
       The main title credits Paul Whiteman and his Band as "Exclusive ... >>

It Happened One Night

The working title for this film was Night Bus, and it was to have starred Robert Montgomery, who was Frank Capra's original choice for the part of ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.