They Made Me a Criminal 1939
A southpaw with a distinctive boxing style, New York based Johnnie Bradfield has just won the world boxing champion title. While he, to the public, portrays himself as wholesome, doting on his mother, he, in reality, lives a hard and fast life in stark contrast to that public persona. While in a drunken stupor, Johnnie is passed out while a reporter who was going expose his true lifestyle is found dead in Johnnie’s apartment. Knowing that he did not kill the reporter but that he is implicated in doing so, Johnnie, with a few hundred dollars in his pockets of his several thousand dollars amassed wealth, goes on the run in learning that the authorities also believe that he died in a fiery car crash. Not by plan or choice but rather circumstance and need, Johnnie, using the alias Jack Dorney, ends up at the Rafferty Date Farm in Arizona, it run by elderly, widowed Grandma Rafferty, whose husband, before his passing, took in a group of six reform school kids from New York City to give them a better chance at life in that reform. While there is an initial animosity between Johnnie and Grandma, the six reformers and especially Peggy, the sister of one of the reform kids who accompanied her brother to the farm in feeling she may be a grounding influence for him, they all end up having a reciprocal positive influence on the other, especially Johnnie and Peggy who start to fall for each other. There are two problems potentially to upset Johnnie’s new life. First, he may turn to the only way he knows how to earn a living, namely boxing, which may expose himself as still being alive. And second, NYPD Detective Monty Phelan, whose career took a nosedive ten years ago in a grave error of judgment, believes Johnnie is indeed alive and will do anything to prove his case in needing to restore some legitimacy to his career.