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Hell's House (1932)

 -  Drama  -  30 January 1932 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 574 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 14 critic

Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.

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Title: Hell's House (1932)

Hell's House (1932) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Matt Kelly
Junior Durkin ...
Jimmy Mason (as Junior Dirkin)
Frank Coghlan Jr. ...
Shorty (as Junior Coughlin)
Emma Dunn ...
Emma Clark
...
Henry Clark (as Charles Grapewin)
Morgan Wallace ...
Frank Gebhardt
Hooper Atchley ...
Captain of the Guard
Wallis Clark ...
Judge Robinson (as Wallace Clark)
James A. Marcus ...
Superintendant Charles Thompson (as James Marcus)
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Storyline

Jimmy Mason idolizes bootlegger Matt Kelly who is dating Peggy. Unwilling to squeal on his idol, Jimmy winds up in a cruel reformatory where a new- found friend is dying from abuse. Jimmy escapes to report the abuse. Matt and Peggy help him once he has escaped. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 January 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Juvenile Court  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Peggy Gardner: If you'd give the kid a chance, Kelly, he might amount to something, instead of always thinking about yourself.
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Connections

Referenced in All About Bette (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Worthwhile Material Helps Make Up for Weaknesses Elsewhere
16 December 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

The worthwhile story material in this crime drama helps to make up for its weaknesses in other areas. In approaching the subject of juvenile crime, it doesn't present anything revolutionary or ground-breaking, but it does call attention to a few issues that are worth considering, such as the ways that young persons become involved in crime, and the priorities of the justice system in dealing with young offenders. The movie is also of some interest in having Bette Davis in one of her earliest screen roles.

Junior Durkin plays a young man who in all innocence becomes involved with a charismatic bootlegger during the days of prohibition. Jimmy (Durkin's character) is arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and is sent to reform school, where things get worse. Some of the plot developments are not all that logical or plausible, but the story works in calling attention to the way that the young offenders are often treated simply as annoyances to be minimized, with insufficient attention given to constructive development.

Pat O'Brien is effective as the bootlegger, and Davis, though cast as a stock character, has a few good moments as his tough-minded girlfriend. The rest of the supporting cast, which features Charley Grapewin and Junior Coghlan, is solid, and the story moves at a good pace. Overall, it's a little above average for its time and genre, and it contains some ideas worth thinking about.


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