Friday, February 24, 2017

The Criminal Code (1931)

Academy Awards, USA 1931

Best Writing, Adaptation
Seton I. Miller
Fred Niblo Jr.

Columbia Pictures
Directed by Howard Hawks
My rating: 2.5 stars out of 4
IMDb Wikipedia
(DVD, Sony)

A young man is sent to prison by a boisterous DA despite evidence pointing to self defense. Years later, the DA is appointed warden of the same prison. Many of the men hold grudges against him leading to a tense atmosphere. He employees a couple of them in his private quarters, including the young man he sent to prison earlier, who falls in love with his daughter, and Karloff, a murderer plotting to kill the prison guard who sent him up. Karloff dominates his scenes but is really just a supporting player. Walter Huston's DA turned warden is not always sympathetic, and the love story which leads to the young prisoner's redemption is underdeveloped. Still, steady direction by the uncredited Hawks makes this prison drama very watchable even today.

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