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Boys Town (1938)

7.3
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Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there. He runs away but, hungry, returns. He runs away again but, when friend Pee ... See full summary »

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Title: Boys Town (1938)

Boys Town (1938) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Leslie Fenton ...
Dan Farrow
Gene Reynolds ...
Tony Ponessa
Edward Norris ...
Joe Marsh
Addison Richards ...
The Judge
Minor Watson ...
The Bishop
Jonathan Hale ...
John Hargraves
Bobs Watson ...
Martin Spellman ...
Skinny
Mickey Rentschler ...
Tommy Anderson
Frankie Thomas ...
Freddie Fuller
Jimmy Butler ...
Paul Ferguson
Sidney Miller ...
Mo Kahn
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Storyline

Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there. He runs away but, hungry, returns. He runs away again but, when friend Pee Wee is hit by a car, returns. He runs away and joins his brother's gang. Flanagan and the boys capture the crooks and the reward saves the town. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BOYS' TOWN IS Real! (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

9 September 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boys' Town  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Father Flanagan may have been the basis for Harold Gray's character Collar John, a boxer turned priest who appeared in his comic strip Little Orphan Annie. See more »

Goofs

Pee Wee is hit by a car. Whitey rushes to see whether he is injured. You'd expect the car driver to come and see as well, but the driver has disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Tony Ponessa: If you're a Catholic or a Protestant, you can go right on being one.
Whitey Marsh: Well, I'm nothin'.
Tony Ponessa: Then, you can go right on being nothin', and nobody cares.
See more »

Connections

Featured in That's Entertainment, Part II (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Silent Night, Holy Night
(1818) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Gruber
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
In the score at Christmas
Sung a cappella by the Boys Town Acapella Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tribute To A Remarkable Man & Place
18 June 2002 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Father Flanagan courageously fights against all odds to see his dream of BOYS TOWN become a reality.

Pulsing with real life, here is a family film which not only entertains but informs - bringing back to our attention one of the most vibrant personalities of the 20th Century, Father Edward Flanagan. Excellent production values - with outdoor filming that actually appears to have taken place on location at the authentic Boys Town - help tremendously with the viewer's enjoyment.

Earning his second Oscar in two years, Spencer Tracy is magnificent as the good Father. He gives us a hero of patience & grace, one who values prayer & faith, but one who is also quite ready to land a few powerful punches for a good cause. Tracy's own private life was anything but tranquil, which only makes his performance here all the more impressive.

Admirably cast as a nasty little punk, young Mickey Rooney breezes through an important role which would help propel him into becoming Hollywood's top star within a couple of years. Like a junior version of Tracy himself, the two are wonderful together, striking several dramatic sparks off their characters' personalities. While Tracy plays his role with quiet humor & dignity, Rooney hams it up magnificently.

Henry Hull offers good support as Tracy's pawnbroker friend who nervously gets to worry about all of Boys Town's financial woes. Little Bobs Watson as Pee Wee, the Town's youngest resident, is cute without being too cloying.

*************************

After an education in Rome, Irish-born Edward Joseph Flanagan (1886-1948) came to America in 1904. Ordained a priest in 1912, Father Flanagan was sent to Omaha, Nebraska, where he established the Workingmen's Hotel for derelict men in 1914.

Soon, however, his great calling and the purpose for his life's ministry became clear - the work with abandoned & abused boys. In 1917 Father Flanagan opened the Home for Homeless Boys in a large old house. Outgrowing their facilities, in 1921 Father Flanagan moved his young charges to a farm site 10 miles from Omaha, capable of housing hundreds of youths. Quickly becoming more of a living community than just a school, the boys voted in 1926 to rename the place Boys Town.

Eventually covering some 1300 acres of farmland, dormitories, workshops, classrooms & playing fields, Boys Town incorporated itself as a sovereign township in 1936. Largely governed by the young men themselves, the institution is open to boys of all religions, colors & creeds and strives to provide healing for all manner of emotional & physical abuses.

Girls were first brought into the program in 1979.


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