7.5/10
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54 user 36 critic

Dead End (1937)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 27 August 1937 (USA)
The Dead End Kids, an unemployed architect, and gangster Baby Face Martin interact with an East Side neighborhood over one day and night.

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Writers:

(screen play), (based upon the play by)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Kay
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Spit (as Leo B. Gorcey)
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Charles Peck ...
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE GREATEST GANGSTER THRILLER THAT EVER EXPLODED FROM THE SCREEN! (1944 reissue print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 August 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead End: Cradle of Crime  »

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joseph I. Breen, director of studio relations, raised some objections to elements of the first script submitted to the office. Breen requested that the line "All cats look alike in the dark" be deleted, as well as two sentences that were to trail off, "son of a-" and "go to-." Additional suggestions offered to Samuel Goldwyn included: the word "bum" should not be used in British prints for the film as that word was British slang for the posterior; no "bronx cheer" should be used; the character "Spit" should not be shown actually expectorating; there should be no scenes of characters stepping on cockroaches; and, "old cans and spilled garbage" might cause offense. Some aspects of the original play were altered before the screenplay was submitted to the Hays Office. In the play, for example, the character Francey has syphillis, however, in the film she says that she is "sick" but her hacking cough indicates tuberculosis. Dave Connell was a crippled artist named Gimpty in the play. See more »

Quotes

Francey: You can stay, nobody will recognize your face.
Hugh 'Baby Face': Yeah,
[shows her his fingers]
Hugh 'Baby Face': but you can't change these. I've tried three times with battery acid, it doesn't work.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 25th Hour (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Girl of My Dreams
(1927) (uncredited)
Written by Sunny Clapp
Played after Francey leaves Martin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Unique and absorbing
30 June 2003 | by (Louisville, Kentucky) – See all my reviews



It's a dead end street in New York that ends at the river. It's here that a wide assortment of characters from different walks of life come together in a pressure cooker setting. Rich, poor, kindhearted and hardhearted all come together. In Dead End, a young woman and her teenage brother struggle to survive. An architect works for a better life. A gangster comes home to visit his mother. A well kept woman chooses between love and wealth. The rich and the poor get glimpses of one another's lives at the waters edge.

This movie draws us into a unique place and time. It gives us intimate portraits into peoples lives. It makes contrasts and it shows similarities between people. It's one of a kind and director William Wyler has given us something special here. Sylvia Sidney, Humphrey Bogart, Marjorie Main, Allen Jenkins, the Dead End Kids and Ward Bond give standout performances. The 1930's atmosphere is palpable. I rate this film 91/100. It's unique and absorbing.


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