Up the River (1938 film)

Up the River is a 1938 prison comedy film directed by Alfred L. Werker and starring Preston Foster and Arthur Treacher and featuring Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The film is a remake of a 1930 film with the same name directed by John Ford and starring Spencer Tracy and Humphrey Bogart in the roles subsequently played by Foster and Tony Martin.

Up the River
Directed byAlfred L. Werker
Produced bySol M. Wurtzel
StarringPreston Foster
Tony Martin
Arthur Treacher
Music bySamuel Kaylin
CinematographyJ. Peverell Marley
Edited byNick DeMaggio
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
December 9, 1938
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States


A passenger on a luxury liner ends up in a card game with men who take him for more than $20,000. After docking and graciously offering them a ride in a limousine, the man reveals his real name, Willis, and real identity, police officer, to the two men who swindled him, Chipper Morgan and Darby Randall.

Morgan and Randall are sent to prison, where, to their amazement, Willis is the new warden. Their young cellmate Tommy Grant is on the prison's football team while Tommy's sweetheart Helen Lindsey awaits his parole.

When the team improves significantly thanks to Morgan and Randall and a big game is arranged with a team from another prison, wagers are made, jailbreak schemes are hatched and complications arise. Morgan and Randall are unable to get to the game until the very last play, but their touchdown makes the warden happy and their fellow prisoners as happy as prisoners can be.


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