6 user 1 critic

The Penalty (1941)

The son of a murderer is entangled in his father's crimes and is sentenced to a rehabilitive farm, where he learns a new way of life.


Harold S. Bucquet


Harry Ruskin (screenplay), John C. Higgins (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Crime lab expert Gordon McKay uses the latest forensic techniques to solve murders in a city plagued by political corruption and mob rackets.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Van Heflin, Marsha Hunt, Lee Bowman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The Trial of Mary Dugan is a 1941 American drama,thriller film directed by Norman Z. McLeod and written by Bayard Veiller. The film stars Laraine Day, Robert Young, Tom Conway, Frieda ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Laraine Day, Robert Young, Tom Conway
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The career of a Nazi officer shown as flashbacks from his trial as a war criminal.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Marsha Hunt, Alexander Knox, Henry Travers
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

The citizens of a tiny Cornish village are tormented during World War II by a headless ghost which is haunting the local tin mine.

Director: Benjamin Stoloff
Stars: John Loder, Eleanor Parker, Bruce Lester
Comedy | Mystery | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Morning Express ace reporter 'Timmy' Blake uses her wiles and charms to get the scoop on rival papers, and keep her editor happy. When the Express gets a tip that a wealthy old man was ... See full summary »

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Pat O'Brien, Joan Blondell, Margaret Lindsay
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Expecting to put on a musical show, singing and dancing college students are brought to a struggling hotel to be guinea pigs in an ancient Greek-themed eugenics experiment.

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Jack Benny, George Burns, Gracie Allen
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A tough, ambitious newspaperman starts a new tabloid in 1919 New York, with a crooked big-time gambler as a partner.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Laraine Day, Edward Arnold
Long Shot (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Henry Sharon is about to be ruined financially by rival stable owner Lew Ralston when he gets an idea to fake his own death. His prize horse Certified Check is bequeathed to niece Martha, a young woman Ralston had hoped to marry.

Director: Charles Lamont
Stars: Gordon Jones, Marsha Hunt, C. Henry Gordon
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A rookie flyer, Ens. Alan Drake, joins the famous Hellcats Squadron right out of flight school in Pensacola. He doesn't make a great first impression when he is forced to ditch his airplane... See full summary »

Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Robert Taylor, Ruth Hussey, Walter Pidgeon
My Gal Sal (1942)
Biography | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Chronicles the early life of gay nineties-era songwriter Paul Dresser as he outgrows his job as carnival entertainer and moves up into New York society, writing one hit song after another. ... See full summary »

Director: Irving Cummings
Stars: Rita Hayworth, Victor Mature, John Sutton
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A divorced glamour girl (Ann Sheridan) keeps warm with a professor (Richard Carlson) amid sports and romance at Dartmouth.

Director: Charles Reisner
Stars: Ann Sheridan, Richard Carlson, Helen Parrish
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A gangster (Robert Sterling) hides out on a farm and falls for the farmer's daughter (Marsha Hunt).

Director: Robert B. Sinclair
Stars: Robert Sterling, Marsha Hunt, Virginia Weidler


Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Arnold ... Martin 'Stuff' Nelson
Lionel Barrymore ... 'Grandpop' Logan
Marsha Hunt ... Katherine Logan
Robert Sterling ... Edward McCormick
Gene Reynolds ... 'Roosty'
Emma Dunn ... 'Ma' McCormick
Veda Ann Borg ... Julie
Richard Lane ... Craig
Gloria DeHaven ... Anne Logan
Grant Mitchell ... Judge
Phil Silvers ... Hobo
Warren Ashe Warren Ashe ... Jay
William Haade ... Van
Ralph Byrd ... Brock
Edgar Barrier ... Burns


The son of a murderer is entangled in his father's crimes and is sentenced to a rehabilitive farm, where he learns a new way of life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Find the Blonde and Get the Gangster!


Crime | Drama | Mystery


See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El castigo See more »

Filming Locations:

Inglewood, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received its USA television premiere Friday 2 November 1956 on KTTV (Los Angeles), followed by Philadelphia Saturday 1 December 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6), by Altoona PA Thursday 13 December 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), by New York City Saturday 22 December 1956 on WCBS (Channel 2) and by Chicago Friday 4 January 1957 on on WBBM (Channel 2); it first aired in Minneapolis 26 April 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9), and in San Francisco 8 January 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »


When Rootsy pulls the black car over after crossing the bridge, reflections of multiple studio lights can be seen on the car's highly polished door. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Gene Reynolds shines in crime drama programmer...
10 April 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

But all his acting abilities are given short shrift by a tale that purports to be a crime melodrama with EDWARD ARNOLD as his father, a bank robber who's always one step ahead of the police. RICHARD LANE is the detective on his trail, VEDA ANN BORG is Arnold's moll girlfriend, GENE REYNOLDS is his street smart son, and RALPH BYRD is an unfortunate police officer.

Trouble is, none of the story rings true. It all his a very fabricated MGM look, the kind of programmer they turned out to fill a double feature program without any headliners in starring roles. I never bought jovial EDWARD ARNOLD as the criminal type and this bit of miscasting prevents the story from any real sense of credibility.

It's a good forty minutes before ROBERT STERLING and MARSHA HUNT show up as a farm couple willing to take reform school reject GENE REYNOLDS under their wing. He's a fallen sparrow who needs all the nurturing they can give.

Fifty minutes into the story, LIONEL BARRYMORE and GLORIA DE HAVEN show up, with Barrymore as a Grandpa who smokes a pipe and talks like Dr. Gillespie except that he's full of kindly sentiments instead of bitter complaints about mankind.

Did I say the story was dated? Marsha Hunt talks about a schoolteacher making $85 a month.

Summing up: Unpredictable at the start, the story soon turns into a conventional "crime doesn't pay" drama with Reynolds doing a complete reformation in time for a happy ending. The only saving grace is that it's not as preachy as it might have been.

Summing up: The faults far outweigh the virtues.

Trivia note: Watch for PHIL SILVERS (without specs) in a one minute bit as a hobo.

4 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed