After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
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 <email@example.com>
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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