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The Devil Is a Sissy (1936)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama  -  18 September 1936 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 264 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 3 critic

A well-bred young English lad living in lower Manhattan tries to gain acceptance from his not-so-well-bred peers at school.


, (uncredited)


(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Devil Is a Sissy (1936)

The Devil Is a Sissy (1936) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Freddie Bartholomew ...
Claude Pierce
'Buck' Murphy
'Gig' Stevens
Ian Hunter ...
Jay Pierce
Peggy Conklin ...
Rose Hawley
Katharine Alexander ...
Hilda Pierce
Mr. Jim Murphy
Kathleen Lockhart ...
Mrs. Murphy
Jonathan Hale ...
Judge Holmes
Etienne Girardot ...
Mr. Crusenberry - the Principal
Sherwood Bailey ...
Buster Slaven ...
Paul Krumpp
Harold Huber ...
Willie - a Gangster
Stanley Fields ...
Joe - a Gangster


Claude Pierce is delighted to move in with his father, Jay Pierce, a struggling architect living in lower Manhattan, for the six months the divorce agreement of his parents specified. He's come at a particularly bad time for his classmate, Gig Stevens, whose father is to be executed that night for murder, so he's treated badly by Gig as well as Gig's pal, Buck Murphy, and their gang. But he takes boxing lessons and holds his own in a fight with the older and heavier Buck, so he is grudgingly accepted into the gang. Their chief interest is to get a proper tombstone for Gig's father, costing $80. When stealing and selling tires proves too slow, Claude suggests burglarizing some rich kid's home for his toys, and pawning them. Claude leads them to a house at night, where rich looking toys are found, stolen and pawned. However, a suspicious policeman has them brought before a judge where Claude eventually confesses they were his toys; he knew his mother was away and the house was ... Written by Arthur Hausner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »





Release Date:

18 September 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil Is a Sissy  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rowland Brown was the original director, but he was replaced after one week by W.S. Van Dyke, who reshot most of Brown's footage. This was the 4th time another director completed a film which Brown started. See more »


When the boys are running away towards the end and meet in the cemetery, there's a part in the scene where you can see a man walking across in the background. See more »


Judge Holmes: Buck, eh? That's a swell name. They used to call me "Stinky." You know why?
Robert 'Buck' Murphy: I guess so.
Judge Holmes: Well, I certainly led with my chin that time.
See more »


References Raffles (1930) See more »


The Sidewalks of New York
Music by Charles Lawlor and James W. Blake
Played during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

Three Young Stars Make Film A Success
29 March 2002 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Three little tough guys learn the value of friendship & loyalty, during family crises and troubles with the law.

While overlong & predictable, THE DEVIL IS A SISSY is the only chance to see all three of MGM's little 1930's princes in one film. Freddie Bartholomew, Jackie Cooper & Mickey Rooney (12, 14 and 15 respectively when the film was released) are a great deal of fun to watch & make a terrific cinematic trio.

At this point, they were all at different stages in their careers. Jackie's heyday as a child star - including a stint with Hal Roach's celebrated OUR GANG - was in the past. Freddie was in the very midst of his intense, brief major stardom. And Mickey was exhibiting glimpses of the talent that in a few years would make him the biggest star in Hollywood.

Although a ‘youth picture' in every way, there are several good performances from a small crowd of adults, most notably Englishman Ian Hunter, as Freddie's sincere, honest father. Also appearing to advantage in smaller parts are Kathleen Alexander as Freddie's emotional mother; Gene & Kathleen Lockhart as Jackie's stern parents; and Peggy Conklin as Mickey's free-spirited aunt. Little Etienne Girardot appears as a fierce school principal, as does Jonathan Hale playing a sympathetic judge and Grant Mitchell as a serious suitor to Mickey's mom.

Harold Huber, Stanley Fields & Frank Puglia are a gang of brutal thugs who run afoul of the three youngsters, while Hattie McDaniel's older sister, Etta, makes the most of her one scene as Miss Conklin's maid.

That's an unbilled Dorothy Peterson doing a fine job as Mickey's mother. Movie mavens should recognize Christian Rub as a funerary stone mason; Ian Wolfe as a pawnbroker; and George Davis as a French diner owner - all uncredited.

The good production values bestowed by MGM are also a great asset to the film, particularly in the neighborhood scenes.

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