6.1/10
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12 user 2 critic

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:
...
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Billy Shafter
...
Sleepy Arkelian (as Bernard Punsley)
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Leo Finnegan
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Huntz
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Luigi
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Bernie
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Pat Remson
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Peggy Finnegan
...
Gabe Ryan
...
Remson Sr.
...
Martino
...
Mayor Dooley
...
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

Working title: "The Battle of City Hall" See more »

Quotes

Pat Remson: Where does Shuffle hang out?
Huntz: He hangs out with Kroner and Kroner's always in the bowling alley.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Keep 'Em Slugging (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

A-Tisket A-Tasket
Traditional children's song
Played by an organ grinder and whistled by Jackie Searl when the boys encounter Alfred Goonplatz
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Surprisingly fun
30 August 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The film begins with a bunch of kids in reform school and focuses on a kid named 'Gabe', who has apparently worked hard to earn his parole. Gabe and his sister move to a new neighborhood to make a fresh start and soon Gabe meets up with the Dead End Kids. The Kids in this film are little punks, but they are much less antisocial than they'd been in other previous films and down deep, they are well-meaning punks. However, in this neighborhood there are also some criminals who are perpetrating insurance fraud through arson and see Gabe as a convenient scapegoat--after all, he'd been to reform school and no one would believe he was innocent once he was framed. So, when Gabe is about ready to be sent back to "The Big House", it's up to the rest of the gang to save him and expose the real crooks.

The "Dead End Kids" appeared in several Warner Brothers films in the late 1930s and the films were generally very good (particularly ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES). However, after the boys' contracts expired, they went on to Monogram Studios and the films, to put it charitably, were very weak and formulaic--with Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey being pretty much the whole show and the group being renamed "The Bowery Boys". Because ANGELS WASH THEIR FACES had the excellent writing and production values AND Hall and Gorcey were not constantly mugging for the camera, it's a pretty good film--and almost earns a score of 7 (it's REAL close). In fact, while this isn't a great film aesthetically, it's sure a lot of fun to watch, so I will give it a 7! Sure, it was a tad hokey-particularly towards the end when the kids take the law into their own hands and Reagan ignores the Bill of Rights--but it was also quite entertaining. The Dead End Kids are doing their best performances and Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan provided excellent support. Sure, this part of the film was illogical and impossible but somehow it was still funny and rather charming--so if you can suspend disbelief, it works well.


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