6.7/10
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16 user 3 critic

The Devil Is a Sissy (1936)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | 18 September 1936 (USA)
A well-bred young English lad living in lower Manhattan tries to gain acceptance from his not-so-well-bred peers at school.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
'Buck' Murphy
...
'Gig' Stevens
...
Jay Pierce
...
Rose
...
Hilda Pierce
...
Mr. Murphy
Kathleen Lockhart ...
Mrs. Murphy
...
Judge Holmes
Etienne Girardot ...
Principal
Sherwood Bailey ...
'Bugs'
...
'Six-Toes'
...
Paul Krumpp
...
Willie
...
Joe
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Storyline

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 <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 September 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Na pragu življenja - Otroci s ceste  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film received its initial USA telecast in Los Angeles Thursday 27 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), followed by Philadelphia Friday 1 March 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); its San Francisco television premiere took place 11 April 1958 on KGO (Channel 7); its earliest documented telecast in New York City presently stands at 1 June 1960 on WCBS (Channel 2). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Hilda Pierce: [on New York City] Well, all I see is squalor and dirt. And unpleasantly swarthy people.
See more »

Connections

References Raffles (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Very good
12 March 2003 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

I taped this based on its title alone. It's the kind of classic Hollywood film I really love because, while it's definitely a quality picture, it's also goofy in a lot amusing ways. The Devil Is a Sissy stars three child stars of the time, Freddie Bartholomew, Jackie Cooper, and Mickey Rooney. Bartholomew is a young British chap who is staying with his humble father (Ian Hunter) for six months in the middle of New York City. At his local public school he meets up with Cooper and Rooney, two little toughs. It takes a while, but soon Bartholomew has learned the customs of the people around him, like how to play American football (the ball has points, unlike British football) and what people do to squealers. Near the beginning, Rooney's father is executed for murder. I wouldn't call it anti-death penalty by any means, but it's nice to see a movie from this time deal with the way it effects the family of the person who is executed. Over the course of the film, Cooper and Rooney learn what comes from being bad. The title of the film comes from a speech given to them by a judge, who tells them that it is easier to be good than bad. The angels were good, and the devil was the real sissy. The lessons to be learned remind me a lot of Michael Curtiz's Angels with Dirty Faces, but The Devil Is a Sissy is a much better film. The three kids here are professionals. They are the heart of the film, where the titular angels were merely plot devices. That was just a James Cagney vehicle. The script here is much better, as well. In addition to the actors I mentioned, Peggy Conklin gives a great performance as Mickey Rooney's rich aunt. She and the kids (and also her black maid) sing a nice little number, "The 'Ah' Song." The script kind of tiptoes around why the aunt has money. At first I assumed it was because she was a singer, but it seemed to hint later on that she may have been a kept woman. I'm not sure. Conklin's career seems to have sputtered and died, which is far too bad.


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