Best Crime Movies of 1938
Angels with Dirty Faces
In New York, the boys Rocky Sullivan and Jerry Connelly are best friends and small time thieves. After a robbery, Rocky is arrested and sent to a reformatory school, where he begins his criminal career. Jerry escapes and later becomes a priest. After three years in prison, Rocky is released and demands the return of $100,000 deposited with his solicitor - prior to his jail term.
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
A wealthy society doctor decides to research the medical aspects of criminal behaviour by becoming one himself. He joins a gang of thieves and proceeds to wrest leadership of the gang away from it's extremely resentful leader.
You and Me
Mr. Morris, the owner of a large metropolitan department store, gives jobs to paroled ex-convicts in an effort to help them reform and go straight. Among his 'employed-prison-graduates' are Helen Roberts and Joe Dennis, working as sales clerks. Joe is in love with Helen and asks her to marry him, but she is forbidden to marry as she is still on parole, but she says yes and they are married. In spite of their poverty-level life, their marriage is a happy one until Joe discovers she has lied about her past, in order to marry him. Disillusioned, he leaves, goes back to his old gang and plans to rob the department store.
The Mad Miss Manton
When the murdered body discovered by beautiful, vivacious socialite Melsa Manton disappears, police and press label her a prankster until she proves them wrong.
A Slight Case of Murder
Former bootlegger Remy Marco has a slight problem with forclosing bankers, a prospective son-in-law, and four hard-to-explain corpses.
Charlie Chan in Honolulu
While Charlie is distracted with the birth of his first grandchild, son Jimmy impersonates his father in order to investigate a murder aboard a freighter in the harbor.
In the slums, teenager Frankie Warren hangs out with a rowdy gang who one day knock him out in a fight. In court, the boys refuse to reveal who struck the knockout blow, and all are subsequently sentenced to a reformatory, cruelly run by two corrupt guards. New deputy commissioner Mark Braden arrives determined to change things, but despite the help of Frankie's sister, Mark's reform plans -- and Frankie's future -- may be sabotaged from within.
The Missing Guest
Newspaper man "Scoop" Hanlon is looking for a way out of his assigned women's interest column. The one chance he has is to spend the night in the "blue room" of a haunted mansion where a number of people are gathered for a party. When one of the guests disappears from his room, "Scoop" decides to get to the bottom of things.
Mr. Wong, Detective
A chemical manufacturer is killed just after asking detective James Wong to help him. So Detective Wong decides to investigate this as well as two subsequent murders.
Hide and Shriek
Detective Alfalfa and his assistants Buckwheat and Porky try to solve a missing-candy case but find themselves in an amusement park haunted house.
A crime novelist devises a scheme to catch the thief who has stolen the valuable "Konjer Diamonds". Director Lew Landers' 1938 B-film stars Preston Foster, Whitney Bourne, Cecil Kellaway, Donald Meek, Samuel S. Hinds, Arthur Lake, Paul Guilfoyle and June Johnson.
Think It Over
A gang of 'professional torches' burn down stores for the insurance money.
Two young men try to wrest their father from the clutches of a gold digger but by mistake think the woman is a young nightclub singer with whom they both fall in love.
Blondes at Work
When a rival newspaper publisher complains to his captain about possible collusion between himself and reporter Torchy Blane on scooping her rivals in crime news reporting, Det. Lt. Steve McBride determines to thwart her efforts to get inside information - and she determines to go on getting it, by whatever means necessary.
I Am the Law
With the aid of his former law students, a professor-turned-prosecutor battles corruption and organized crime.
Mr. Moto's Gamble
Celebrated as supersleuth, Mr. Moto comes out fighting when a brutal boxing match turns into cold-blooded murder! Assisted by detective-in-training Lee Chan, Moto sets out to track down the killer based on a single ominous clue: a poisoned boxing glove! But when Moto's hunch points to a corrupt gambling syndicate, he's forced to wager his very life to unmask the culprit—or go down for the count...permanently!
The Return of the Frog
The film concerns a police hunt for the criminal known as The Frog.
They Drive by Night
“Shorty” Matthews having recently been released from prison visits his girlfriend in London only to discover her murdered. Fearing he will be wrongly accused of being the culprit he disappears amongst the long-distance lorry driving community. Meanwhile, the real killer, unassuming ex-schoolteacher Walter Hoover, continues to prey on London women. As Shorty had feared he has become the main suspect. He returns to London with old flame Molly to prove his innocence.
Torchy Gets Her Man
A notorious counterfeiter passes himself off as a Secret Service agent to Steve and gets him to unwittingly help him bilk the racetrack out of tens of thousands.
Spoiled child Geoffrey Bramer teams up with a pair of small time crooks to pose as an aristocrat and steal jewelry from exclusive shops. During a a caper, Geoffrey is caught and is sentenced to a reformatory where young men are trained to be sailors. He is befriended by model in-mate Terry O'Mulvaney but soon starts to get them both in trouble.
The Gaunt Stranger
A lawyer receives a note telling him that he'll be dead in 48 hours - and Scotland Yard must work fast to uncover the serial killer known as 'The Ringer'.
Mysterious Mr. Moto
The Japanese detective rounds up a league of assassins for Scotland Yard.
The Saint in New York
A crime spree in New York forces the police commissioner to turn to Englishman Simon Templar, who fights lawlessness and corruption through unorthodox methods. Templar sets his sights on individual crimes bosses, and after bringing down two vicious leaders through disguise and deception, discovers that there is a mastermind behind all the city's crime.
By a daring ruse and inside help, Pete Rennick, a noted criminal behind bars on federal charges, escapes from the prison, and all of the law-agencies and local police are out to catch him with roadblocks and every car searched, but the escapee gets away. Bill Hasford, a private detective, investigating a racket finds it leads to the wanted man, and has the biggest adventure of his career.
Dick Tracy Returns
Dick Tracy battles spies and saboteurs in his efforts to bring to justice the Stark gang, a criminal family led by the vicious Pa Stark.
Little Tough Guy
The son of a man sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit vows to become a criminal himself. He starts his own street gang, and their crime spree is financed by a mysterious young man--who turns out to be the son of the District Attorney who sent the boy's father to the electric chair.
London has become enthralled by the antics of the contemporary Robin Hood, but when a band of bad guys start framing him for their misdeeds, the hero has to catch the criminals and clear his name.
King of Alcatraz
A convict who has just escaped from Alcatraz Prison takes over a passenger ship. Two of the ship's crew hatch a plot to overpower him and rescue the ship's passengers.
Wives Under Suspicion
A merciless district attorney prosecutes a case that mirrors his own life.
Mr. Moto Takes a Chance
In the jungle near Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Mr. Moto poses as an ineffectual archaeologist and a venerable holy man with mystical powers to help foil two insurgencies against the government.
A beautiful girl inherits a newspaper that sponsors a charity home for boys.
They're Always Caught
This MGM Crime Does Not Pay series short shows the role the crime laboratory plays in the solving of cases, and how even the smallest detail can become a major clue.
The Lady in the Morgue
A detective investigates the disappearance of a girl's body from the city morgue.
Accidents Will Happen
A married insurance claims adjuster investigates a gang of accident-fraud racketeers, but they retaliate by targeting his wife.
Torchy Blane in Panama
Torchy, Steve, and Gahagan are on the trail of a bank robber aboard an ocean liner traveling from New York to L.A. via the Panama Canal.
Shirley Ross plays an innocent young girl convicted for complicity in a crime committed by her boy friend (Lloyd Nolan). The male crook is sentence to six months on a prison farm populated by both men and women (segregated, of course). Ross is also incarcerated, suffering the cruelties of the sadistic male and female guards (including J. Carroll Naish and future "Ma Kettle" Marjorie Main!)
The Patient in Room 18
Choreographer Bobby Connolly and prolific screenwriter Crane Wilbur teamed up on the direction of Warner Bros.' The Patient in Room 18. Patric Knowles delivers a delightfully comic performance as Lance, an outwardly normal young man obsessed with detective stories. When his obsession threatens to lapse over into lunacy, Lance is sent to the hospital for a nice long rest. It isn't long before he gets mixed up in a genuine murder mystery, using his second-hand knowhow to solve the case. Up-and-coming Ann Sheridan is quite amusing as Lance's nurse and confidante, while the murderer is played by a fellow who is usually cast as the murder victim.
The Wrong Way Out
Two young people get married and run away, even though their parents advise them to build up their savings first. After they get settled they can barely make ends meet. When opportunity suddenly presents itself, they start on a downward spiral of crime.
Jeffrey Clavering is hired in London by The Great Eastern Oil Corporation to go to Paris to prevent unscrupulous industrialist Nikolai Kamarov from gaining control of their oil fields and turning them over to a foreign power.
Gangsters plan an assassination of a rival while he rides the train carrying him to prison.
A true-to-life gangster movie stirs up an all out mob assault on Hollywood.
G-Man Charles Bent Martin is sent out to break up a nationwide racket. A transport company is aiding fugitives making a getaway in exchange for the lion's share of their loot. Through an old friend, whom he once barnstormed in an air circus, Martin joins the gang as a pilot. He becomes interested in Carol Butler, a beautiful girl involved with the gang through the activities of her ne'er-do-well father.
One Wild Night
Frenzied comedy starring June Lang as a reporter investigating the mysterious disappearances of four men who had all withdrawn large sums of money from the local bank in Stockton, Ohio.
This gripping, atmospheric crime thriller from Austrian-born director Paul Stein stars Oscar nominee Raymond Massey as a man at the centre of a multiple murder investigation – a case that sparks a sensationalist press frenzy when it becomes clear that the killer only strikes when there is a full moon.
Here's Flash Casey
After graduating college an aspiring photographer lands his first job--with a big city newspaper.
Bulldog Drummond's Peril
Drummond's wedding with Phyllis is interrupted when the inspector guarding their gifts is killed. He tries to trace the killers and uncovers the mystery of diamond counterfeiters.
Law of the Underworld
A respected citizen with secret ties to the local mob is faced with revealing his criminal connections to save two innocent people from execution
A former actor poses as the son of a wealthy man and gets involved in a murder in which the real son is the suspect.
The Spy Ring
Two American-army officers are working on a new type of machine-gun for anti-aircraft warfare, when one of them is murdered. The other vows to get the spies that are after the invention and avenge his friend's death.
When Hubert Kingery, a banker, is found shot dead with a gun in his hand, his daughter refuses to believe it is a suicide. With the help of a detective, she hopes to get to the bottom of the case.