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Back Door to Heaven [DVD] [English] [1939]

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Back Door to Heaven
William K. Howard, a once-prestigious director fallen on hard times in 1939, proved that he still had the "right stuff" with the modest tearjerker Back Door to Heaven. Wallace Ford stars as Frankie, a pugnacious drifter stigmatized by his reform-school upbringing. Frankie and his former "classmate" Jud (Stu Erwin) try to go straight, but get mixed up in a robbery, during which a man is killed. Though not responsible for the murder, it is Frankie who is railroaded to the death house. Nonetheless, he manages to bust out -- just in time for his grammar school class reunion, presided over by teacher Miss Williams (Aline MacMahon), the only person who ever tried to give Frankie a break. Despite severe storytelling shortcomings and gaping logic holes, director Howard managed to make a silk purse out of the critically acclaimed Back Door to Heaven. However, what may once have been social realism, now seems more like a sentimental, mawkish melodrama. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Wallace Ford
    Wallace Ford - Frankie (adult)
  • Aline MacMahon
    Aline MacMahon - Miss Williams
  • Stuart Erwin
    Stuart Erwin - Jud
  • Patricia Ellis
    Patricia Ellis - Carol Evans (adult)
  • Image coming soon
    Bert Frohman - Bert "Mouse" Gatto
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.