IMDb > Boys Town (1938)
Boys Town
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Boys Town (1938) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   3,422 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
John Meehan (screenplay) and
Dore Schary (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Boys Town on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 September 1938 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
BOYS' TOWN IS Real! (original print ad - mostly caps) See more »
Plot:
Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A little too saintly to be entertaining See more (39 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Spencer Tracy ... Father Flanagan

Mickey Rooney ... Whitey Marsh

Henry Hull ... Dave Morris
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 ... Pee Wee
Martin Spellman ... Skinny
Mickey Rentschler ... Tommy Anderson
Frankie Thomas ... Freddie Fuller
Jimmy Butler ... Paul Ferguson
Sidney Miller ... Mo Kahn
Robert Emmett Keane ... Burton
Victor Kilian ... The Sheriff (as Victor Killian)
Boys Town Acapella Choir ... The Choir (voice) (as Boys Town A Cappella Choir)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Aylesworth ... Tim (uncredited)
King Baggot ... Derelict in Mission Next to Weasel (uncredited)

Barbara Bedford ... Catholic Nun (uncredited)
James Blaine ... Court Officer (uncredited)
Stanley Blystone ... Guard (uncredited)
Edwin Brian ... Boy (uncredited)
Everett Brown ... Darky (uncredited)
Orville Caldwell ... Warden (uncredited)
Bennie Chorre ... Young Thunder (uncredited)
Richard Clucas ... Boy (uncredited)
Roger Converse ... Newspaper Reporter Lane (uncredited)
George Cooper ... Tramp (uncredited)
Nell Craig ... Catholic Nun (uncredited)
Helen Dickson ... Catholic Nun (uncredited)
Calvin Ellison ... Boy (uncredited)
Wesley Giraud ... Butch (uncredited)
Robert Gleckler ... Mr. Reynolds (uncredited)
Donald Haines ... Alabama (uncredited)
John Hamilton ... Warden (uncredited)
Murray Harris ... Hillbilly (uncredited)
Billy Hazard ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Edward Hearn ... Train Guard (uncredited)
Al Hill Jr. ... Apples (uncredited)
Al Hill ... Rod (uncredited)
Donald Hull ... Newsboy (uncredited)
George Humbert ... Calateri (uncredited)
Gladden James ... Doctor (uncredited)
Raymond Kelly ... Boy (uncredited)
Don Latorre ... Boy (uncredited)
Billy McCullough ... Boy (uncredited)

Claire McDowell ... Catholic Nun (uncredited)
Jackie Morrow ... Boy (uncredited)
Paul Nichols ... Boy (uncredited)
Ray Nichols ... Boy (uncredited)

Tommy Noonan ... Red (uncredited)
Jay Novello ... Gangster (uncredited)
Ronald Paige ... Jimmy (uncredited)
Charles Ramos ... Mex (uncredited)
Kane Richmond ... Newspaper Reporter Jackson (uncredited)
Kent Rogers ... Tailor (uncredited)
Nelson Scott ... Commissioner (uncredited)
Jimmy Sommerville ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Bobby Stone ... Boy Mopping Floor (uncredited)
Chuck Stubbs ... Slats - in Prologue (uncredited)
A.W. Sweatt ... Jackie - in Prologue (uncredited)
Phillip Terry ... Newspaper Reporter (uncredited)
Johnny Walsh ... Charley Haines (uncredited)
Frank Whitbeck ... Trailer Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Sonny Boy Williams ... Boy on Bannister (uncredited)
Robert Winkler ... Boy (uncredited)
William Worthington ... Governor (uncredited)

John Wray ... Weasel (uncredited)
Walter Young ... Judge (uncredited)

Directed by
Norman Taurog 
 
Writing credits
John Meehan (screenplay) and
Dore Schary (screenplay)

Dore Schary (original story) and
Eleanore Griffin (original story)

Jack Mintz  contributor to screenplay construction (uncredited)

Produced by
John W. Considine Jr. .... producer
 
Original Music by
Edward Ward 
 
Cinematography by
Sidney Wagner (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Elmo Veron 
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Joe Cooke .... unit manager (uncredited)
Jay Marchant .... unit manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Horace Hough .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Urie McCleary .... associate art director
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
 
Special Effects by
Slavko Vorkapich .... montage effects
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... musical arranger
 
Other crew
Howard Dietz .... press representative (uncredited)
Orville O. Dull .... production associate (uncredited)
Edward Flanagan .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Carl 'Major' Roup .... script clerk (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Boys' Town" - USA (poster title)
See more »
Runtime:
96 min | 93 min (DVD version) | West Germany:107 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Canada:G (video rating) | Finland:S | Sweden:Btl | USA:TV-G | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #4528) | West Germany:12
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Actor Don Barry was spotted at a UCLA game with a Texas All-Star team. Mickey Rooney attended the game with John Wayne. Even though his team lost 21-14, Barry impressed the two actors who offered to open doors for him if he wanted a film career. Rooney got him a job on "Boys' Town," but Barry kept blowing the scene with Tracy he had been assigned and was replaced.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Whitey lowers his baton twice when he steps up to make his election speech.See more »
Quotes:
Dan Farrow:[panicky, about to die in the electric chair] How much time have I got, Father?
Father Edward J. Flanagan:Eternity begins in forty-five minutes, Dan.
Dan Farrow:What happens then?
Father Edward J. Flanagan:Oh, a bad minute or two.
Dan Farrow:And after that?
Father Edward J. Flanagan:Well, Dan, that's a question that scientists and philosophers have been asking for a million years.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Just Like Heaven (2005)See more »
Soundtrack:
Theme Music of Boys TownSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
A little too saintly to be entertaining, 28 February 2002
Author: Igenlode Wordsmith from England

The film takes a long time to get going - I almost gave up on it after the first half-hour. But mercifully, after the documentary-style and resolutely non-judgmental opening, "Boys Town" acquires a plot - and some sense of direction. The trigger for this is the introduction of the first character in the entire film who is allowed to be flawed. So far, everyone else has been shown to be either a curmudgeon with a heart of gold, a rascal with a heart of gold, or an unashamed saint; but Joe Marsh is a flashy and unrepentant young criminal.

He is not entirely beyond redemption, however. He loves his younger brother, who hero-worships him in turn and longs to emulate him; and it is doubtless a sad reflection on human nature that it is only with the arrival of strife in the Eden of Boys Town, in the shape of Joe and Whitey Marsh, that the film manages to become at all interesting.

What follows is a story that has been told many times before, from Louisa May Alcott's "Jo's Boys" onwards. This is the story of a rough boy who rebels against unaccustomed gentle surroundings and tries to corrupt his new world to match the one he knows, and whose ultimate saving grace is his protective love for a younger child.

The main problem for this film is the role of Father Flanagan, a thankless part for any actor. The man has - literally - no weaknesses, no human flaws, not even any self-doubt. His charm can apparently melt the hardest heart and conjure water out of a stone - or out of a hard-headed pawnbroker, which according to the script comes to the same thing. The man is too likeable to be 'insufferable'; but it was surely not the intention of the director that the audience should end up by willing Whitey to resist the priest's moral pressure, to shield his brother even at his own expense and that of his adopted community - and to be so pleased when the boy attempts to do so.

To be honest, I don't see that this part deserved to win an Oscar for Spencer Tracy - not because the actor played badly, but because the character as written simply doesn't present him with enough challenging material to demonstrate his craft. It is the child actors who play the various boys who deserved the real praise in this film. Ultimately I suspect Tracy's Oscar was an award aimed at rewarding the efforts of the *real* Father Flanagan rather than at his performance in this film.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (39 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Boys Town (1938)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
why did tony cry? Binkles
They had better Never Remake this movie! keeperspencer
No DVD??? FibberMcGee18
Whitey's Walk to 30th and Dodge huskerfanlife
Whitey Marsh leroykevin
Filming locations on campus.. dallas_osborn
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