The Dead End Kids are introduced in their intricate East Side slum, overlooked by the apartments of the rich. Their antics, some funny, some vicious, alternate with subplots: unemployed architect Dave is torn between Drina, sweet but equally poor, and Kay, a rich man's mistress; gangster Baby Face Martin returns to his old neighborhood and finds that nobody is glad to see him. Then violent crime, both juvenile and adult, impacts the neighborhood and its people. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Samuel Goldwyn paid $165,000 for the rights to Sidney Kingsley's play, which ran eighty-five weeks on Broadway. The review of the play in Hollywood Reporter noted that the play had the potential to make a great film. See more »
[the police are looking for Tommy after he has a fight with Philip Griswald and then injures Philip's father]
Don't worry, Drina. He knows his way around - he can take care of himself.
He can take care of himself too well. How can he have done such a thing? Where does he learn about knives and...
He had an expert teacher.
[refers to Martin]
Anyway it's not hard to learn in a place like this.
But he's not a bad kid - not really bad. He never has been.
The famous 'Baby Face' Martin used to live on ...
[...] See more »
Opening credits prologue: Every street in New York ends in a river. For many years the dirty banks of the East River were lined with the tenements of the poor. Then the rich, discovering that the river traffic was picturesque, moved their houses eastward. And now the terraces of these great apartment houses look down into the windows of the tenement poor. See more »
This is a great film about which much has been written, and there are many such thoughtful comments included on this website. I don't really need to add any comments about what a true American classic it is.
Instead, I will comment on the character actors, always my favorite part of a Hollywood movie. Once I've seen the picture, and appreciated the stars and understood the plot, I like to watch it for the supporting players --I don't think there were ever any better character actors than those in the Hollywood studio system in the 1930s through 1950s.
In this case, I am thinking of the young men who were known as the Dead End Kids. I grew up in New York City with just such kids. They are portraying the real thing, and they do it so well. It's unfortunate that they devolved into those silly characters called the Bowery Boys (still true to life as the neighborhood slackers) in those silly movies made in the 1940s and 1950s. They deserved better, although I suppose it was a living.
My particular favorite kid in Dead End is Leo Gorcey. That Spit -- what a little punk. I think he plays the part with just the right mix of teenage bravado, danger and insecurity, and I think he is actually pretty sexy. I could see him playing smooth, urban (not necessarily urbane) villains in other films, but that never happened. Too bad. He would have been very interesting.
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