Back Door to Heaven (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

Back Door to Heaven (1939)





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Back Door to Heaven produced, written and directed by William Howard, while considered a hard-hitting social drama in its day, now seems a sentimental, mawkish tearjerker. Frankie (Wallace Ford) is a drifter, raised in reform school who, along with his friend Jud (Stu Erwin) get involved in a robbery and murder. Frankie breaks out of prison in time to attend his grammar school reunion held by his former teacher Miss Williams (Aline MacMahon). There he makes his final statement and is killed in a blaze of bullets. Wallace Ford gives a mawkish, cliched performance as Frankie and the plot has my glaring leaps of logic. What may once have been social realism now seems like sentimental melodrama.

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Wallace Ford
as Frankie Rogers
Patricia Ellis
as Carol Evans
Aline MacMahon
as Miss Williams
Stuart Erwin
as Jud Mason
James Lydon
as Frankie as a Boy
Jimmy Lydon
as Frankie as a Boy
William Harrigan
as Mr. Rogers
Jane Seymour
as Mrs. Rogers
Robert Wildhack
as Rudolph Herzing
William Redfield
as Charley Smith
Kenneth LeRoy
as Bob Hale
Van Heflin
as John Shelley (adult)
Raymond Roe
as John Shelley
Al Webster
as Sheriff Kramer
Joe Garry
as Reform School Superintendent
Bert Frohman
as The Mouse
Kent Smith
as John Shelley
Bruce Evans
as Charley Smith
Doug McMullen
as Wallace Kishler
William Howard
as Prosecuting Attorney
Helen Christian
as Mrs. Smith
Robert Vivian
as George Spelvis
Hugh Cameron
as Penitentiary Warden
Georgette Harvey
as Mrs. Hamilton
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