Criminal Code, The (1931): Hawks’ Oscar-Nominated Prison Drama, Starring Walter Huston and Boris Karloff

In Howard Hawks’ prison drama, Columbia’s The Criminal Code, Phillips Holmes is sent to jail for a murder he had committed in self-defense.

Walter Huston (John Huston’s father) plays the District Attorney, who has second thoughts about his defense, and later on, as a warden, he begins a friendship with him.

In the process, Holmes falls for Huston’s daughter, played by Constance Cummings and witnesses a murder committed by Boris Karloff.  Refusing to rat on Karloff, abiding by the code (hence the title), he is then assigned to solitary cell.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Adaptation: Seton I. Miller and Fred Niblo Jr.

Oscar Context:

The Oscar winner of the Adaptation category was Howard Estabook for “Cimarron,” which also won Best Picture.