"You Can't Get Away with Murder," is a crime drama that was directed by Lewis Seiler in 1939. The leads in the film were Humphrey Bogart and Billy Halop. The supporting cast is Gale Page, John Litel, and Henry Travers.
The film is about a young man named Johnnie (Halop) who is around 19 and looks up to Frank (Bogart) so much that he starts to live in a life of crime. His sister and soon to be brother-in-law try to get him away from Frank but that doesn't help. The two of them pull off a burglary and use Johnnie's sister's fiances gun. That leads him to get a murder rap and Johnnie is too afraid to tell the truth because Frank threatens him. They end up in Sing Sing for a burglary pulled off before that one and Johnnie starts to fight with himself over telling the truth.
It's a dramatic film, Halop known for being one of the 'Dead End Kids,' gave a fine performance. He's a young man who wants the life that Frank has but can't stomach it really. He acts like his conscience doesn't bother him but throughout the film all he wants to do is yell out the truth but fear holds him back. While watching it the viewer might get a little irritated with his behavior but remember Bogart's character is pretty frightening and Johnnie acts big but like he's called in the film he's a yellow-belly.
"You Can't Get Away with Murder," is called one of Bogart's B-films but this film actually holds up from any other film in the 30s. It does deserve much recognition. Back about his performance he is all fatherly towards Johnnie only when Johnnie obeys him. He's controlling and is no idol. It takes time for John to see that. Even when they're in prison, he still tries to control him. He uses the term since the murder happened that they will be like Siamese twins . All he's afraid of his own skin and doesn't care about how the murder affects Johnnie at all. It's very apparent and his character is menacing.
The film is paced not badly, though sometimes can linger a bit but that just adds more tension. There are some scenes like before Johnnie can be a little annoying because you know what he's doing is bad but realistically if someone is afraid of his own demise he would probably act cowardly. So it works for his character overall. Watch the film to see what happens to these cast of characters and it might be surprised a little.
Another thing that kind of makes the viewer wonder and even scared is how dumb the jury was for the poor fiance. The film of course does make note, Frank thinks that he will get scotch free though you'll learn in meantime why he didn't. At first though it'll make you wonder why they didn't find him not guilty.
The film itself is a 4 star picture, this crime drama has solid cast and some intense scenes. The ending will tug at the heart but that's what makes it even better. It's drama for a lot of reasons. A must see for Bogart fans and Bill Halop of course deserves recognition of his tearful performance as a young man on the wrong side of the tracks.