|The Criminal Code|
Original publicity poster
|Directed by||Howard Hawks|
|Produced by||Harry Cohn|
|Written by||Martin Flavin (play)|
Fred Niblo, Jr.
Seton I. Miller
|Cinematography||James Wong Howe|
|Editing by||Edward Curtiss|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||January 3, 1931|
|Running time||97 minutes|
The Criminal Code (released January 3, 1931) is a Hollywood crime film, directed by Howard Hawks, based on a play by Martin Flavin with cinematic adaptation by screenwriters Seton I. Miller and Fred Niblo, Jr.
Shot in black-and-white, the picture stars Walter Huston as District Attorney Martin Brady, who gets a dapper young law intern named Robert Graham, played by Phillips Holmes, convicted for ten years. Howard Winchester Hawks ( May 30, 1896 &ndash December 26, 1977) was an American Film director, producer and Harry Cohn ( July 23, 1891 &ndash February 27, 1958) was president and production director of Columbia Pictures. Martin (Archer Flavin ( November 2, 1883 – December 27, 1967) was an American Playwright and novelist. Fred Niblo Jr (1903 - 1973 was a successful Hollywood Screenwriter. Seton I Miller (1902 - 1974 was a Hollywood Screenwriter and producer. Walter Huston ( April 6 1884 &ndash April 7 1950) was an Academy Award -winning Canadian -born American actor Phillips Holmes ( July 22, 1907, Grand Rapids Michigan - August 12, 1942, Ontario Canada James Wong Howe, ASC (Chinese 黃宗霑 Pinyin: Huáng Zōngzhān ( August 28, 1899 - July 12, 1976) is considered one of Dale H "Ted" Tetzlaff ( 3 June 1903, Los Angeles California &ndash 7 January 1995, Sausalito California) }} Columbia Pictures Industries Inc is an American Film production and distribution company Events 1431 - Joan of Arc is handed over to the Bishop Pierre Cauchon. Year 1931 ( MCMXXXI) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States Events 1431 - Joan of Arc is handed over to the Bishop Pierre Cauchon. Year 1931 ( MCMXXXI) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. A crime film, in the most general sense is a Film that involves various aspects Crime and the Criminal justice system Howard Winchester Hawks ( May 30, 1896 &ndash December 26, 1977) was an American Film director, producer and Martin (Archer Flavin ( November 2, 1883 – December 27, 1967) was an American Playwright and novelist. Seton I Miller (1902 - 1974 was a Hollywood Screenwriter and producer. Fred Niblo Jr (1903 - 1973 was a successful Hollywood Screenwriter. Black-and-white is a number of Monochrome forms in Visual arts. Walter Huston ( April 6 1884 &ndash April 7 1950) was an Academy Award -winning Canadian -born American actor A district attorney (DA is in some US jurisdictions the title of the local public official who represents the government in the prosecution of alleged criminals Phillips Holmes ( July 22, 1907, Grand Rapids Michigan - August 12, 1942, Ontario Canada Brady privately admits he knows the supposed crime — killing another young man in a nightclub — was done in self-defense. Unfortunately for Graham, the victim was the governor's son and the perspicacious albeit wily attorney takes his work and the criminal code seriously. There must be some form of retribution. "An eye for an eye," he states as his motto, as well as the underlying theme of the story.
Several years and a career change later, as warden of the penitentiary holding Graham, Brady meets the woebegone prisoner, who appears to be on the brink of a nervous breakdown, and is moved to help him somehow. Meanwhile, Graham has discovered a whole other criminal code in prison. These two codes finally confront one another and force the main characters (and the audience) most aggressively to reconsider their morals. Like other prison films of the 1930s, such as San Quentin and Each Dawn I Die, The Criminal Code encouraged its viewers to question the contemporary American legal and penal systems. The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression. San Quentin is a 1937 Warner Bros Drama film directed by Lloyd Bacon and starring Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart and Each Dawn I Die is a 1939 gangster film featuring James Cagney and George Raft in their only movie together as leads although Raft
The film also features Constance Cummings as Mary Brady, the warden's daughter, DeWitt Jennings as Yard Captain Gleason, and, reprising his onstage role as Ned Galloway, one of Graham's two cellmates, English-born actor Boris Karloff, who gives an electrifying proto-Frankenstein performance. Constance Cummings CBE ( May 15 1910 – November 23 2005) was an American -born British actress known for her DeWitt Jennings ( 21 June, 1879 &ndash 1 March, 1937) was an American film actor Boris Karloff ( 23 November, &ndash 2 February,) was an English actor who emigrated to Canada in the 1910s Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, generally known as Frankenstein, is a Novel written by the British author Mary Shelley He would be cast only a few months later as James Whale's infamous screen monster. James Whale ( July 22, 1889 – May 29, 1957) was a British born Film director, best known for his work in the
Six years of stress and hard labor working in the prison jute mill has taken its toll on young Robert Graham. Jute is a long soft shiny Vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse strong threads The penitentiary's resident doctor and psychiatrist recommends that Warden Brady see him and proposes that he offer him a drastic change of environment and duties before his psychological damages become irreversible. A physician, medical practitioner or medical doctor who practices Medicine, and is concerned with maintaining or restoring human Health A psychiatrist (also archaically called an alienist) is a Physician who specializes in Psychiatry and is certified in treating Mental disorders When the warden realizes who the inmate is, or rather was, and recalls that it was he that helped put him behind bars (as with many of the prisoners), he agrees to give him a chance and offers him a job as his valet. Graham enjoys his new employment, especially since he is frequently in the company of the warden's pretty young daughter, Mary. He improves in general character and demeanor and regains his morale.
Meanwhile, one of Graham's cellmates tries to escape at night with two other prisoners. One turns out to be a stool pigeon, breaking the Prisoner's Code of silence and lures the men into a death trap. The guards brutally shoot down and kill Graham's cellmate. Ned Galloway, Graham's other cellmate, vows to venge this death and, more importantly, punish the violator of the unwritten code. He develops an elaborate plan secretly to murder the culprit and carefully warns Graham to stay away from the man. Ill-fated Graham, of course, walks in on the crime no one was supposed to witness.
Upon finding Graham with the dead body, the perspicacious warden again knows that Graham is not the murderor. He does however clearly see that Graham knows who committed the crime. Promising him a speedy parole, though his sincerity is somewhat doubtful, the warden pushes Graham to reveal the name of the killer. He is morally torn. Still an inmate, Graham cannot bring himself to go against the Prisoner's Code and remains loyal to Galloway and the other inmates, who in this case represent the Hawksian group, an ever-present theme in the director's films. The situation also deeply troubles Brady, who feels impelled to send Graham to "the hole," hoping it will change his mind. Solitary confinement, colloquially referred to in American English as "the hole" or "the pound" (or in British English "the block" is a Punishment
A week or so later, after a short trip, Mary returns home to the penitentiary and is surprised not to see Graham working as valet. Her surprise turns to shock when she finds out where Graham has been sent. She urges her father to release him. The warden criticizes his daughter for her naïveté, but reconsiders her plea once she proclaims her love for Graham. Along with Gleason and a few guards, he descends into the prison dungeon to let out the devastated prisoner. The other inmates logically think that Graham has spoken the name of the killer. Having previously smuggled a pocket knife down to another man in the hole, they hope Graham will be punished for squealing.
Galloway, on the other hand, understands what is really happening. He purposely insults a guard in the jute mill and is promptly sent downstairs faithfully to protect his cellmate and loyal friend. Once in the dungeon, he kills the other prisoner and, in addition, cuts Gleason's throat. (The Yard Captain was, in fact, the man responsible for Galloway's lengthy incarceration). The other guards finally shoot him down. Graham, safe and unharmed, is immediately sent up to see Mary Brady. The two lovers embrace passionately for the first time.
The Criminal Code was adapted for the screen by Seton I. Miller and Fred Niblo, Jr. Seton I Miller (1902 - 1974 was a Hollywood Screenwriter and producer. , son of director Fred Niblo. Fred Niblo ( January 6, 1874 – November 11, 1948) was an American pioneer film Actor, director and producer The original play by San Francisco Bay Area native author and playwright Martin Flavin was produced on Broadway in 1929 at the Belasco Theater. The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, or the Bay, is a geographically and ethnically diverse metropolitan region that surrounds the Broadway theater, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 39 large professional theaters with 500 seats or more located Year 1929 ( MCMXXIX) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Belasco Theatre is a legitimate Broadway theatre located at 111 West 44th Street in midtown- Manhattan. Boris Karloff, who delivered a strong performance in the stage play, is recast here as Galloway. This film served as the vehicle which would essentially launch his career. Though appearing in dozens of pictures during the 1920s, he had mostly bit parts. The 1920s is sometimes referred to as the " Jazz Age " or the " Roaring Twenties " when speaking about the United States and Canada
The film is the first of two collaborations with infamously foul-mouthed producer Harry Cohn, the second being Twentieth Century(1934). Harry Cohn ( July 23, 1891 &ndash February 27, 1958) was president and production director of Columbia Pictures. The twentieth century of the Common Era began on Year 1934 ( MCMXXXIV) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. It is Hawks' only picture with Frank Fouce, who produced only five films, all of them in 1931. Hawks worked with screenwriter Seton Miller several times in the late 1920s and early 1930s. This is the only occasion he worked with Niblo, Jr.
The Criminal Code was remade the following year in France as Criminel, directed by Jack Forrester, starring Daniel Mendaille and Harry Baur. Harry Baur (born 12 April 1880 as Henri-Marie Baur in Montrouge Seine ( Hauts-de-Seine) Île-de-France &ndash died 8 April
Though an early talkie, The Criminal Code makes a sophisticated use of sound. A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image as opposed to a Silent film. The intercourse is at times rapid and Hawks seems to be experimenting with overlapping dialogue.
Hawks easily exploits the prison genre to illustrate the male friendship and 'group as an organic force' themes often present in his works (cf. Only Angels Have Wings, Rio Bravo and Air Force). Only Angels Have Wings ( 1939) is a movie directed by Howard Hawks, starring Cary Grant and Jean Arthur. WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft. Please see WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft/page content for recommended layout This is most apparent in the scene in which Brady starts his first day of work as warden, greeted by a prison yard full of men booing him as if they were but one man. The warden (and the camera) peer down on them from the office window.
Constance Cummings is a far cry from, say Lauren Bacall, and has little to work with here, a small part with lackluster lines. Nonetheless, she does not fail to represent the typical Hawksian woman. In film theory a " Hawksian woman " (first identified by Naomi Wise is a tough talking female character Archetype popularized in movies by Film director Her character is strong and, to a certain degree, stoic. She inhabits an utterly masculine world. Yet, although she can leave, she prefers to stay and live at the penitentiary (cf. Mary Rutledge in Barbary Coast). Barbary Coast (released in 1935) is a Period film directed by Howard Hawks.