Up the River (1930)

Up the River (1930)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Up the River Photos

Movie Info

The one-time-only combination of director John Ford and actors Spencer Tracy (in his first film) and Humphrey Bogart (in his second) should be recommendation enough for the offbeat comedy-drama Up the River. Tracy and Warren Hymer play Saint Louis and Dannemora Dan, two hard-boiled but likeable prison convicts. While in stir, the boys befriend another convict named Steve (Bogart), who is in love with woman's-prison inmate Judy (Claire Luce). Eventually, Steve and Judy are released, whereupon they get married and head to a small town where no one knows of their criminal pasts. It isn't long, however, before the couple's future happiness is threatened by dishonest salesman Frosby (Gaylord Pendleton), the no-good rat who framed Judy. Frosby threatens to expose Steve's prison record if the latter refuses to go along with a scheme to defraud his neighbors. Learning of this situation, Saint Louis and Dan escape from jail, foil Frosby's scheme, and return behind bars just in time to play in a prison all-star baseball game! Nonsensical to say the least, Up the River is also a film that's hard to dislike. It was remade by 20th Century-Fox in 1938, with Preston S. Foster and Tony Martin respectively in the Tracy and Bogart roles.
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

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Robert Parrish
as Boy (uncredited)
Spencer Tracy
as Saint Louis
Humphrey Bogart
as Steve Jordan
Joe E. Brown
as Deputy Warden
Warren Hymer
as Dannemora Dan
Joe Brown
as Dep. Warden
Edythe Chapman
as Mrs. Jordan
Claire Luce
as Judy Fields
Robert Emmett O'Connor
as Prison Warden
Wilbur Mack
as Whitelay
Noel Francis
as Sophie
Sharon Lynne
as Edith La Verne
Pat Somerset
as Beauchamp
Althea Henley
as Cynthia
Louise Mackintosh
as Mrs. Massey
John Swor
as Clem
Adele Windsor
as Minnie
Carol Wines
as Daisy Elmore
Joan Lawes
as Jean
Mack Clark
as Whitelay
Elizabeth Keating
as May and June
Helen Keating
as May and June
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Critic Reviews for Up the River

All Critics (2)

Tongue-in-cheek comedy spoofing prison movies, with delightful performances and story telling.

Full Review… | January 30, 2012
Classic Film and Television

The film was popular with Depression era-audiences, though the critics creamed it.

Full Review… | November 21, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Up the River


I didn't come in here because I wanted to see you. I came in to tell you what a dirty rat you are. When a parolee and former inmate hope to begin a life together everything is flipped upside down when a local crime syndicate tries to blackmail them. Two former gangsters that were in jail with the parolee pair with the couple to try and help them overcome the blackmail scam and return to a life of normalcy. "What's the best hotel in town?" "Well, there isn't any best. They're all terrible." John Ford, director of Cheyenne Autumn, The Last Hurrah, The Wings of Eagles, Rio Grande, Fort Apache, The Hurricane, and The Stagecoach, delivers Up the River. The storyline for this picture is fairly straightforward and fairly predictable. I did not find the plot particularly interesting but the acting was very good. The cast includes Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Warren Hymer, and Claire Luce. "I never break my word." "Really?" "Never twice in succession." Up the River was a movie we DVR'd because it starred the legendary Humphrey Bogart in his second ever film and Spencer Tract in his first picture. I will say that this movie was fairly boring and seemed to plod along. This picture doesn't have much going for it outside of great acting and even the conclusion is fairly ho-hum. I recommend skipping this picture. "So long. I hope I never see you again." Grade: C

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

Interesting early Ford talkie with a Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart. It was pretty interesting and funny at times, but it dragged a bit in the second half.

Jeff Bachman
Jeff Bachman

Early talkie is a little creaky but enjoyable, with an amazing abundance of future film stars in early roles.

Michael Troudt
Michael Troudt

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