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The Criminal Code

Released Jan 3, 1931 1h 35m Crime Drama List
Reviews 48% Audience Score 50+ Ratings After young Robert Graham (Phillips Holmes) commits a murder while drunk and defending his girlfriend, he is prosecuted by ambitious Mark Brady (Walter Huston) and sentenced to 10 years. Six years later, Brady becomes the prison warden and offers the beleaguered Robert a job as his chauffeur. Robert cleans up his act, but, on the eve of his pardon, his cellmate drags him back into the world of violence, and he faces a difficult choice that could return him to prison. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (3) Critics Reviews
Mordaunt Hall New York Times Granted that Howard Hawks's direction is for the most part intelligent and firm, there are occasional sequences which he spoils by extravagant ideas or by leaving too little to the imagination. Rated: 3/5 Jan 28, 2006 Full Review Michael E. Grost Classic Film and Television Prison melodrama is stuffy and uninventive, despite good cast. Jul 7, 2010 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews Unsentimental prison drama. Rated: B Dec 22, 2006 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (8) audience reviews
Steve D Nothing new but effective. Not enough Huston. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 12/24/23 Full Review Louisa E A very enjoyable plot that kept me guessing. I think it was super unrealistic for the warden to be cool with his daughter being in love with a criminal, but it's not a significant issue. I felt like the movie had something to say about prison conditions. The acting was pretty good. All of them had some great moments. I don't like it when characters talk so fast I can't understand them. I wish they would slow down. I'm not sure everyone just yelling "yeah" conveyed a true sense of rebellion. The cinematography was pretty good and had some superimposing and shadows that worked well. The costumes were good. Overall, an enjoyable movie. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 05/08/23 Full Review Bill T Somewhat preachy expose about the prison system as Walter Huston stars as a District Attorney who has put many a prisoner away in the big house.. Now he's the Prison Warden! There's lots of people who don't like him, one being Phillips Holmes! He got a murder rap put on him a number of years ago. But Huston thinks Holmes is A Good Boy, and rethinks his sentence while also allowing him to canoodle with his daughter! Oh and as well, Boris Karloff (who's performance got him noticed for Frankenstein) has issues with the warden as well. Good story, keeps it going mostly, gets a little preachy about reform etc, and Huston is always stiff as a board. But not bad. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/16/23 Full Review alex k One Boris Karloff Film, 1931's Frankenstein Is One Of My Favorite Films. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Granted that Howard Hawks's direction is for the most part intelligent and firm, there are occasional sequences which he spoils by extravagant ideas or by leaving too little to the imagination. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member Wonderful early Hawks film is tough, devilish fun. Standing out is a rare, non-horror movie performance by Karloff as a deadly inmate "with an appointment to keep". Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Criminal Code

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis After young Robert Graham (Phillips Holmes) commits a murder while drunk and defending his girlfriend, he is prosecuted by ambitious Mark Brady (Walter Huston) and sentenced to 10 years. Six years later, Brady becomes the prison warden and offers the beleaguered Robert a job as his chauffeur. Robert cleans up his act, but, on the eve of his pardon, his cellmate drags him back into the world of violence, and he faces a difficult choice that could return him to prison.
Director
Howard Hawks
Producer
Harry Cohn
Screenwriter
Martin Flavin, Seton I. Miller, Fred Niblo Jr.
Distributor
Columbia Pictures
Production Co
Columbia Pictures Corporation
Genre
Crime, Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Jan 3, 1931, Original
Runtime
1h 35m
Sound Mix
Mono
Aspect Ratio
35mm, Flat (1.37:1)