You Can’t Get Away with Murder (1939)

Humphrey Bogart, Billy Halop, Madge Stone. Directed by Lewis Seiler.

Bogart is a gangster, and Halop is one of his stooges, a young punk who sees Bogart as a kind of mentor. When Bogart and Halop get thrown into Sing Sing for an armed robbery, they take their sentence willingly because it means getting away with a murder. However, the man tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in that murder is Halop’s sister’s fiance.

Halop is one of the Dead End Kids who appear with Bogart in several pre-High Sierra films. This is the first I’ve seen. His performance is rather overwrought in the way punk kids are always presented in films from this era: “Say, mister. What’s it you?”

Bogart’s okay, but his role isn’t very demanding. After all those gangster roles he played in the thirties, this seems rather phoned-in. Still it’s a decently engaging ninety-minute movie and you could do worse.

Let’s call it 5/10 counting a half-point bump for starring Bogart.

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