You Can’t Get Away With Murder

Humphrey Bogart plays mobster Frank Wilson, the heavy headlining this crime thriller that sprung from the pen of Sing-Sing’s warden himself! Based on the play “Chalked Out” by Warden Lewis E. Lawes and Jonathan Finn, You Can’t Get Away With Murder tells the grim tale of a young punk taken in by the glamorous gangster life, only to find himself sent away to the federal pen with a man’s fate resting in his hands and a murderer dogging his every step. Young Johnnie Stone (original “Dead End Kid” Billy Halop) hooks up with hoodlum Wilson only to help Wilson frame his sister’s (Gale Page) straight and narrow fiancé Fred (Harvey Stephens) for Murder One. All three men soon find themselves sent to the “Big House” – two serving a stretch for robbery, the third for Death Row. Can Johnnie come clean in time to save Fred, with Frank watching his every move?

Who does not love Bogart? I cannot get enough of the guy, so when I see the opportunity to pick up one his films that I have never seen, I jump at it. This week I got to watch the 1939 crime drama, You Can’t Get Away with Murder with Bogart and Gale Page. The film was directed by Lewis Seiler and features “Dead End Kid” leader Billy Halop. The film was one of Bogart’s studio B pictures and was filmed before his famous breakthrough in High Sierra two years later.

While the movie is very formulaic and you can see the plot coming from a mile away it is still a good film. You also get a healthy dose of Halop, whose career I really need to explore more, and of course you get Bogie, who as always, chews up the screen. You can almost feel the potential that would make him a star a short time later. If you want to see the development of a star, you will want to pick up You Can’t Get Away With Murder.

You Can’t Get Away With Murder on DVD [via] Warner Archive

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