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 »
Geoffrey Thorpe is an adventurous and dashing pirate, who feels that he should pirate the Spanish ships for the good of England. In one such battle, he overtakes a Spanish ship and when he ... See full summary »
After losing his bride in a Luftwaffe air raid, bomber pilot Forrester becomes a solitary killing machine, who doesn't care whether he dies. The reckless Canadian pilot is both admired and ... See full summary »
Eva has just gotten married to an older gentleman, but discovers that he is obsessed with order in his life and doesn't have much room for passion. She becomes despondent and leaves him, ... See full summary »
Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Thompson is brought to trial by the boys in their court for the murder of Johnny, a white handkerchief is visible in the breast pocket of his black suit coat in the medium close-ups. In the long shots, the handkerchief is missing. See more »
Tell us what you know, I said! Never mind what you think!
Excuse me, boss. I ain't no lawyer. I can't talk without thinkin'.
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James Cagney plays a crime boss who uses his power to get a "real" job working in a boys reformatory school. At first he doesn't take the job too serious but then he sees how the boys are mistreated so he takes over running the school and tries to turn it into something good. This film was remade twice in the next six years with Crime School and Hell's Kitchen and while both of those films were very entertaining there's no question this is the best of the three versions. One thing that helps is the fact that this one was made before the code came into play so it has a lot more of a raw feel to it whereas the remakes were toned down in content. Another added bonus is seeing Cagney who once again delivers a strong performance. He doesn't show up until the twenty-five minute mark and it speaks well of the young actors who hold the film up before the star gets on screen. The supporting players all do fine work with Madge Evans as the love interest, Allen Jenkins as Cagney's sidekick and Dudley Digges as the bad guy running the school. I think one fatal flaw is the ending and the aftermath. The ending turns into a Frankenstein type setting, which might have worked but the aftermath is so rushed and faked that it really ends the film on a sour note. Outside of that this is a pretty good drama with its heart in the right place and the toughness you'd expect from a Warner/Cagney film.
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