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.
They Made Me a Criminal
A boxer flees, believing he has committed a murder while he was drunk.
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.
City in Darkness
Chan goes to Paris for a reunion with friends from World War I. There he investigates the murder of a munitions manufacturer who was supplying arms to the enemy. At the end Charlie preaches to us about the dangers of peace conferences.
King of the Underworld
After the killing of her husband by friendly fire during a police raid, Dr. Carole Nelson tries to find gangster Joe Gurney to clear her name with the medical board.
A gangster is unable to go straight after returning home from prison.
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.
An American pilot with a top-secret invention is kidnapped by foreign agents.
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.
Let Us Live
In Springdale, a small town near New York, taxi driver Brick Tennant and his friend Joe Linden are unjustly accused of a hideous crime and blindly convicted by those who are only interested in feeding the voracious machinery of an inhumane justice system.
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.
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...
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.
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.
Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation
All work and no play makes Mr. Moto a busy detective! Mr. Moto heads to Egypt to thwart a criminal mastermind determined to steal the priceless crown of the Queen of Sheba. But the action heats up and the suspense soars when the precious treasure begins its perilous journey to America and Mr. Moto must race against time to unmask a cunning thief who will stop at nothing—not even murder—to get what he wants!
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.
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.
S.O.S Tidal Wave
A news reporter-commentator at a combined radio-television broadcasting station gives up his stand against the election of a corrupt mayoral candidate after a gangster threatens his family. Features tidal wave stock footage from RKO's "Deluge" (1933), q.v.
A hard-living dockworker finds religion until his brother is murdered.
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.
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.
Within the Law
A wrongly convicted woman studies law and seeks her revenge.
Mandrake the Magician
Mandrake and his team attempt to prevent "The Wasp" from stealing and using a new Radium invention.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Torchy Blane.. Playing with Dynamite
Torchy Blane and Steve McBride try to nab a gangster by tracking his moll.
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.
Back Door to Heaven
The life of a young kid, who starts stealing small things to fit in with the "cool crowd".
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?
Fast and Furious
Joel and 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.
A tough prosecutor who has sent dozens of criminals to prison finds himself framed on a bribery charge and winds up in prison himself.
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.
On the Night of the Fire
A barber (Ralph Richardson) gives in to temptation and steals some money, leading to blackmail and murder.
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.
The Adventures of Jane Arden
Reporter Jane Arden goes undercover to try to expose a gang of jewel thieves and smugglers. Her mission becomes more dangerous when her identity is discovered early on by one of the gang leaders.