6.1/10
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Angels Wash Their Faces (1939)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 26 August 1939 (USA)
A young man just released from a reformatory moves to a new neighborhood with his sister, intending to start a new life. However, he gets mixed up with the local mob boss and corrupt ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Billy Halop ...
Billy Shafter
Bernard Punsly ...
Sleepy Arkelian (as Bernard Punsley)
...
Leo Finnegan
Huntz Hall ...
Huntz
Gabriel Dell ...
Luigi
Bobby Jordan ...
Bernie
...
Pat Remson
...
Peggy Finnegan
Frankie Thomas ...
Gabe Ryan
Henry O'Neill ...
Remson Sr.
...
Martino
...
Mayor Dooley
Bernard Nedell ...
Kroner
Dick Rich ...
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Storyline

A young man just released from a reformatory moves to a new neighborhood with his sister, intending to start a new life. However, he gets mixed up with the local mob boss and corrupt politicians and soon finds himself being framed for an arson and murder he didn't commit. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Battle of City Hall  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Bros. Studios began to tire of the boys' antics during production of "Angels Wash Their Faces." Among their pranks: throwing a lit firecracker in Humphrey Bogart's dressing room, painting obscene murals on the office walls, and setting off fire sprinklers in the wardrobe department. The studio hired a former football player, Russ Saunders, in hopes of taming their unruly sextet. He ultimately had to use a fire hose on them. Ultimately the studio became fed up and dropped their contract. See more »

Quotes

Pat Remson: I;ve come to the conclusion that all kids should be given a stretch in reform school... if they all come out as well as you did.
See more »

Connections

Followed by You're Not So Tough (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

In a Moment of Weakness
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played on the radio when Pat and Joy are talking
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Dead End Kids Clean Up
8 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Gabe Ryan (Frankie Thomas) gets out of reform school and goes back to the slums. His sister (Ann Sheridan) does her best to keep him out of trouble, but it just seems to follow him. Aside from his associations with the Termite gang, Gabe is followed by real-life gangsters who have a scheme to set fire to random buildings to collect the insurance. They need someone to blame for the arson, and Gabe is it. It is up to the Termites to work the law in their favor and give the gangsters their just desserts.

The the scene that introduces the Dead End Kids is really quite good. The boys wander on over to the new resident's furniture on the street, and proceed to make it their own. They talk to each other in phoney posh accents and talk about drinking tea together; Bernard Punsley takes a nap in a chair. The boys then proceed to start a fight with the new boy, but after he proves himself a good fighter, they ask him to join their club.

The initiation scene is rather good too, filled with mischief that seems dangerous at first, but is really rather clever and innocent.

Later, when Billy Halop studies to become the boy mayor, he has a dream about schoolwork. This is wonderfully staged, with tiny holograms of the kids walking on his face and firing questions at him.

Angels Wash Their Faces is a great title because it plays off of the success of Angels With Dirty Faces, and really tells what the kids are doing. Notorious for bad behavior on and off the set, these boys make nice in this film. But rather than seem disingenuous, it makes for some great laughs. This is a preview of what many of the boys would become in The Bowery Boys series. We even get a few garbled words from Leo Gorcey.


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