Best Crime Movies of 1939
The Roaring Twenties
After World War I, Armistice Lloyd Hart goes back to practice law, former saloon keeper George Hally turns to bootlegging, and out-of-work Eddie Bartlett becomes a cab driver. Eddie builds a fleet of cabs through delivery of bootleg liquor and hires Lloyd as his lawyer. George becomes Eddie's partner and the rackets flourish until love and rivalry interfere.
In coastal Cornwall, England, during the early 19th Century, a young woman who's come there to visit her aunt, discovers that she's married an inkeeper who's a member of a gang of criminals who arrange shipwrecking and murder for profit.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Having once again avoided criminal conviction, Professor Moriarity develops a murderous plan to “finish off” his last major nemesis, Sherlock Holmes, by making him fail to prevent the perfect crime. Does it involve a family curse, the crown jewels of England, or something else…
Another Thin Man
Not even the joys of parenthood can stop married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles from investigating a murder on a Long Island estate.
Each Dawn I Die
A corrupt D.A. with governatorial ambitions is annoyed by an investigative reporter's criticism of his criminal activities and decides to frame the reporter for manslaughter in order to silence him.
After railroad agents forcibly evict the James family from their family farm, Jesse and Frank turn to banditry for revenge.
It's a Wonderful World
Detective Guy Johnson's client, Willie Heywood, is framed for murder. While Guy hides him so he can catch the real killer, both of them are nabbed by the police, tried, convicted and sentenced to jail: Guy for a year with Willie to be executed. On the way to jail, Guy comes across a clue and escapes from the police.
The Man They Could Not Hang
Dr. Henryk Savaard is a scientist working on experiments to restore life to the dead. When he is unjustly hanged for murder, he is brought back to life by his trusted assistant. Re-animated he turns decidedly nasty and sets about murdering the jury that convicted him.
They Made Me a Criminal
A boxer flees, believing he has committed a murder while he was drunk.
City in Darkness
Chan, in Paris for a reunion with friends from World War I, becomes involved in investigating the murder of a munitions manufacturer who was supplying arms to the enemy, even as the rising clouds of World War II force the city into nightly blackout status..
King of the Underworld
Physician Carole Nelson, suspected of having ties to notorious gangster Joe Gurney, must prove her innocence or the Medical Board will revoke her license. When Gurney seeks her out for treatment after being shot, it could be the break Nelson needs. Now she has a chance to use her medical know-how to outwit Gurney and his goons and reestablish her professional reputation.
A gangster is unable to go straight after returning home from prison.
Nancy Drew... Reporter
While participating in a contest at a local newspaper in which school children are asked to submit a news story, local attorney Carson Drew's daughter Nancy intercepts a real story assignment. She "covers" the inquest of the death of a woman who was poisoned. Nancy doesn't think the young woman accused of the crime is guilty and corrals her neighbor Ted into searching for a vital piece of evidence and stumbles onto the identity of the real killer.
Man about town and First Class cricketer A.J. Raffles keeps himself solvent with daring robberies. Meeting Gwen from his schooldays and falling in love all over again, he spends the weekend with her parents, Lord and Lady Melrose. A necklace presents an irresistible temptation, but also in attendance is Scotland Yard's finest, finally on the trail.
Mr. Moto's Last Warning
A Japanese man claiming to be Mr. Moto, of the International Police, is abducted and murdered soon after disembarking from a ship at Port Said in Egypt. The real Mr. Moto is already in Port Said, investigating a conspiracy against the British and French governments.
Outside These Walls
Walen plays Dan Sparling, a convicted embezzler who becomes editor of his prison newspaper. After serving out his sentence, he sets up an independent newspaper devoted to attacking corruption in public life, encountering various difficulties due to his being an ex-con and opposition from the incumbent administration.
An American pilot with a top-secret invention is kidnapped by foreign agents.
You Can't Get Away with Murder
Johnnie learns crime from petty thug Frank Wilson. When Wilson kills a pawnbroker with a gun stolen from Johnnie's sister Madge's fiance Fred Burke, Fred goes to Sing Sing's death house. Wilson uses all the pressure can to keep Johnnie silent, even after he and Johnnie themselves wind up in the big house.
Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday
During a holiday by the British seaside, Hornleigh and Bingham grow bored and turn their hand to investigating a local crime.
A fugitive from a chain gang becomes an oil-well firefighter and meets the man who framed him.
Mr. Moto in Danger Island
In Puerto Rico to investigate a glut of contraband diamonds that are flooding the world's jewel market, Mr. Moto and his sidekick, a wrestler, find themselves involved in murders by thrown daggers, the frame-up of an overstressed Army colonel, and a pirate gang led by an unknown boss who has inside knowledge of the ensuing investigation.
Let Us Live
When a confused eyewitness identifies New York City cabbie Brick Tennant as a killer, he is sentenced to death for a murder that he wasn't involved in. Though no one is willing to listen to the innocent prisoner's pleas for freedom, Brick's faithful fiancée, Mary, knows that her lover is innocent because she was with him when the crime was committed. As the scheduled execution draws ever nearer, Mary begins to investigate the murder herself.
The House of Fear
A detective goes undercover as a producer to investigate an actor's murder, which occurred during the performance of a play...
Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation
Mr. Moto is in Egypt to thwart a criminal mastermind determined to steal the priceless crown of the Queen of Sheba. When the precious treasure is transported to America, Mr. Moto must race against time to unmask the cunning thief who will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get what he wants.
Tell No Tales
A newspaper editor turns a kidnapping into the banner headlines and exclusive story that could save his publication.
We Are Not Alone
A British doctor and his son's Austrian governess have an affair and are accused of killing his wife.
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Nancy helps two aging spinsters fulfill the byzantine provisions of their father's will, but the murder of their chauffeur complicates matters.
The Lady and the Mob
Hattie Leonard sets out to break a criminal gang controlling the dry cleaning business.
Those High Grey Walls
Dr. MacAuley, a kindly, beloved country doctor, is sent to Fillmore Prison. His crime was for removing a bullet from a young man who was escaping from the police.
Thugs with Dirty Mugs
Killer Diller and his gang are robbing every bank in town in numerical order (except the 13th National Bank, which they skip out of superstition). Despite their predictable actions, the police are unable to catch them...until they get a tip from an unlikely source.
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery
During a charity football match between Arsenal and touring amateur side Trojans, the Trojan's new star player collapses and dies. Inspector Slade of Scotland Yard is called in and declares it was murder. It takes all his ingenuity and another death before the motive is discovered and the killer revealed.
Dust Be My Destiny
Embittered after serving time for a burglary he did not commit, Joe Bell is soon back in jail, on a prison farm. His love for the foreman's daughter leads to a fight between them, leading to the older man's death due to a weak heart. Joe and Mabel go on the run as he thinks no-one would believe a nobody like him.
Miracles for Sale
A maker of illusions for magicians protects an ingenue likely to be murdered.
Money to Loan
The MGM crime reporter introduces Norman Kennedy, District Attorney of a large city, he who talks about the general want for money, and the extraordinary lengths some will go to to get it. The loan sharking business has that want for money on both sides. He tells the story of one such loan shark, Stephen Hanley, who tried to pass his company off as a legitimate loan business, but who charged exorbitant rates, and used extortion and fraud to get out of his customers even more than what they may have owed on paper.
Within the Law
A wrongly convicted woman studies law and seeks her revenge.
Code of the Streets
Frankie Thomas plays Bob Lewis, leader of a gang consisting of Sailor (Harris Berger), Murph (Hally Chester), Monk (Charles Duncan), Trouble (Billy Benedict) and Yap (David Gorcey). The son of disgraced police officer Lt. Lewis (Harry Carey), Bob vows to clear his dad's name, and also to prove that accused murderer Tommy Shay (Paul Fix) is innocent.
A hard-living dockworker finds religion until his brother is murdered.
Design for Murder
When a wealthy, lonely university music student is beaten and has his apartment trashed by a fellow dorm resident-bully and his gang, he goes mad, lures the bully into his room on pretense of forgiveness, slips him a paralyzing agent in a drink, throws him in a trunk and locks him in, and taunts the bully with the promise that he will be buried alive in the trunk. Only, once he gets his trunk and his prey to his country estate, the vengeful victim finds things keep going wrong...
Jed Marlowe is a brilliant, scheming, unscrupulous criminal lawyer whose specialty is defending criminal he knows is guilty but gets them off through loop-holes or bribery. Then his daughter, misled by her father’s courtroom performance, but unaware of his back-room tactics, marries the killer her father has just unjustly save from the electric chair. What’s a poor father to do?
The Mystery of Mr. Wong
Detective James Lee Wong must find the "Eye of the Daughter of the Moon," a priceless but cursed sapphire stolen in China and smuggled to America. His search takes him into the heart of Chinatown and to the dreaded "House of Hate" to find the deadly gem before it can kill again.
Torchy Blane in Chinatown
Torchy Blane joins her police-detective fiance to solve a series of murders involving a set of Chinese grave tablets taken and sold to a collector and death-threats written in Chinese characters.
Torchy Blane.. Playing with Dynamite
Torchy Blane and Steve McBride try to nab a gangster by tracking his moll.
Fast and Furious
Joel & Garda Sloan, a husband and wife detective team, who also sell rare books in New York, take a vacation to Seaside City. At Seaside, Joel's pal, Mike Stevens is managing and preparing for their beauty pageant. Joel is made one of the judges plus he has invested $5,000 in it, to Garda's dismay. Eric Bartell, promoter, arrives to dupe Stevens. When Ed Connors, New York racketeer arrives, Bartell is mysteriously murdered. Joel and Garda set out to investigate the murder.
The Saint Strikes Back
Suave private detective Simon "The Saint" Templar arrives in San Francisco and meets Val, a woman whose police inspector father killed himself after being accused of corruption and dismissed from the force. Convinced of the man's innocence, Templar takes it upon himself to vindicate the memory of Val's father. To do so he must take on the city's most dangerous criminal gang, while also battling hostile members of the police department.
A tough prosecutor who has sent dozens of criminals to prison finds himself framed on a bribery charge and winds up in prison himself.
On the Night of the Fire
A barber gives in to temptation and steals some money, leading to blackmail and murder.
Back Door to Heaven
The life of a young kid, who starts stealing small things to fit in with the "cool crowd".
Secret Service of the Air
Brass Bancroft and his sidekick Gabby Watters are recruited onto the secret service and go undercover to crack a ruthless gang that smuggles illegal aliens.
A dedicated police officer is torn between family and duty when his son turns to a life of crime.
A woman is suspected of killing her husband after a revolver is found in her attic. A coroner is determined to prove that she did it, but thanks to the assistance of a quick-witted lawyer she is eventually found innocent.