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 <email@example.com>
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 »
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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