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The Mayor of Hell (1933)

 -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  24 June 1933 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 792 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 11 critic

Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the State Reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former ... See full summary »

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, (uncredited)

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(screen play), (based on a story by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Patsy
...
Dorothy
Arthur Byron ...
Judge Gilbert
...
Mike
Dudley Digges ...
Thompson
...
Jimmy
Sheila Terry ...
Blonde with Mike
Robert Barrat ...
Fred Smith
Allen 'Farina' Hoskins ...
Smoke (as Farina)
Harold Huber ...
Joe
Dorothy Peterson ...
Mrs. Smith
G. Pat Collins ...
Brandon (as George Pat Collins)
...
Louis Johnson
John Marston ...
Hopkins
William V. Mong ...
Mr. Walter
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Storyline

Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the State Reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former gangster appointed Deputy Commissioner as a political favor, arrives complete with hip flask and blonde. Gargan falls for activist nurse Dorothy and, inspired by her, takes over the administration to run the place on radical principles. But Thompson, to conceal his years of graft, needs a quick way to discredit Gargan... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

24 June 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Reform School  »

Box Office

Budget:

$229,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Dorothy goes into her office and locks Patsy out, there is a table outside the door on which four books are resting. In the next shot, a closeup of the table top, there are only two books. See more »

Quotes

Lawyer: Tell us what you know, I said! Never mind what you think!
Mr. Hemingway: Excuse me, boss. I ain't no lawyer. I can't talk without thinkin'.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Hell's Kitchen (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Before the Dead-End Kids
20 October 2007 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Before the Dead End Kids, there was Frankie Darro. Forgotten today, he epitomized angry desperate youth during those early depression years. Here he comes across with his usual hot-headed intensity, enough to make up for a nonthreatening small size. In fact, Darro acts a lot like a younger version of Cagney, which is no accident since the story line depends on Cagney seeing a lot of himself among the brutalized boys of the reform school. Without that, his transformation from racketeer to reformer makes little sense.

Some good scenes, such as the regimented mess hall with its robotic commands and synchronized quick-step. Also, the movie really comes alive during the well-staged riot scene. The raging mob, flickering shadows and wildly burning torches create a disturbingly hellish scene befitting the title. Still, unless I missed something, the mob really is responsible for the cruel Dudley Digges death, allowing the boys to get away with murder or at least manslaughter no matter how much Digges deserves it. This may be an example of justice prevailing over the law during those pre-code days.

Showing how closely the school's operation is tied to greedy political patronage provides an interesting touch. Nonetheless, Cagney's conversion from corrupt ward healer to the George Washington of a boy's republic remains something of a stretch. And I'm sure the stereotype of the Jewish kid may have brought some chuckles in that day, but not in this post-holocaust period. Then too, the black kid's dad may be a crude stereotype, but the boy isn't, participating importantly in republic activities. Notice how subtly his role emerges, probably so as not to offend some audiences. Still, it was a nervy move for the time. Notice also, how deglamorized the boys are. With the many shapes and sizes, they look as though they were recruited off the streets-- another nice touch.

As in most Warner Bros. pictures of the time, there's an atmosphere of New Deal reform, embodied here by the understanding judge who's willing to try unorthodox methods to remedy social ills. All in all, the film stands as an entertaining period piece, with a humane message that stands the test of time.


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Great cast, solid film! homeimp
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DVD Release-- March 25, 2008 dnscal
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