You Can't Get Away with Murder (1939)

75 or 78 mins | Drama | 20 May 1939

Director:

Lewis Seiler

Cinematographer:

Sol Polito

Editor:

James Gibbon

Production Designer:

Hugh Reticker

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

Working titles of this picture were Crime Is A Racket and Chalked Out . Lewis E. Lawes, the author of the play on which the picture was based, was warden of Sing Sing ... More Less

Working titles of this picture were Crime Is A Racket and Chalked Out . Lewis E. Lawes, the author of the play on which the picture was based, was warden of Sing Sing penitentiary. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Jan 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Mar 39
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 38
pp. 8-9.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 38
pp. 7-8.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
23 Jan 39
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Oct 39
p. 47.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Jan 39
p. 40.
New York Times
25 Mar 39
p. 19.
Variety
25 Jan 39
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Chalked Out by Lewis E. Lawes and Jonathan Finn (New York, 26 Mar 1937).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Chalked Out
Crime Is a Racket
Release Date:
20 May 1939
Production Date:
early September--mid October 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
29 April 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8808
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75 or 78
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4705
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Madge Stone worries about the influence that Frank Wilson, a cheap gangster, has on her younger brother Johnnie. Johnnie, who has been hardened by the streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen, is impressed by Wilson's seemingly glamorous life of crime, and accompanies the gangster on a gas station robbery. Madge's worries seem to be at an end when her fiancé, night watchman Fred Burke, announces that he is moving the family to Boston where he has found Johnnie a job. That night, however, Johnnie joins Wilson on a pawn shop robbery, and when the owner of the pawn shop tries to stop him, Wilson kills him with Burke's gun, which Johnnie had stolen. Terrified by Wilson's threats about what will happen if he talks, Johnnie returns home. There Madge is about to tell him about their plans for a new life when the police burst in to arrest Johnnie for the gas station robbery. Wilson and Johnnie are sentenced to Sing Sing, where they learn that Burke has been condemned to the death house for the murder of the pawnbroker. As Johnnie wrestles with his conscience about whether he should exonerate Burke of the murder, Wilson intensifies his threats about what will happen to the boy if he talks. While he awaits the results of Burke's appeal, Johnnie is assigned to work in the library, where he flourishes under the care of Pops, a wise old inmate. Upon learning that Burke's appeal has been denied, Johnnie is on the verge of telling the truth when Burke's lawyer terrifies the boy by accusing him of murder. As Madge wages a battle to save Burke, ... +


Madge Stone worries about the influence that Frank Wilson, a cheap gangster, has on her younger brother Johnnie. Johnnie, who has been hardened by the streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen, is impressed by Wilson's seemingly glamorous life of crime, and accompanies the gangster on a gas station robbery. Madge's worries seem to be at an end when her fiancé, night watchman Fred Burke, announces that he is moving the family to Boston where he has found Johnnie a job. That night, however, Johnnie joins Wilson on a pawn shop robbery, and when the owner of the pawn shop tries to stop him, Wilson kills him with Burke's gun, which Johnnie had stolen. Terrified by Wilson's threats about what will happen if he talks, Johnnie returns home. There Madge is about to tell him about their plans for a new life when the police burst in to arrest Johnnie for the gas station robbery. Wilson and Johnnie are sentenced to Sing Sing, where they learn that Burke has been condemned to the death house for the murder of the pawnbroker. As Johnnie wrestles with his conscience about whether he should exonerate Burke of the murder, Wilson intensifies his threats about what will happen to the boy if he talks. While he awaits the results of Burke's appeal, Johnnie is assigned to work in the library, where he flourishes under the care of Pops, a wise old inmate. Upon learning that Burke's appeal has been denied, Johnnie is on the verge of telling the truth when Burke's lawyer terrifies the boy by accusing him of murder. As Madge wages a battle to save Burke, Wilson, worried that Johnnie will confess, decides to kill him during an attempted jail break. Hours before Burke's execution, Wilson and Johnnie stage an aborted jailbreak and Wilson shoots the boy in cold blood. With his dying breath, Johnnie gives a confession which removes Burke from the shadow of the electric chair and replaces him with Wilson. +

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

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