A fire in a run-down tenement building injures young Joey Rogers. Wealthy passerby Peter Cortlant rushes the boy and his attractive older sister Mary to the hospital and pays the medical ... See full summary »
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A fire in a run-down tenement building injures young Joey Rogers. Wealthy passerby Peter Cortlant rushes the boy and his attractive older sister Mary to the hospital and pays the medical expenses for the poverty-stricken family. Only later does Peter learn that the firetrap tenement is one of his own vast real estate holdings. Faced with his own unwitting complicity in the deaths and injuries resultant from the fire and with his growing attachment to Mary, Peter decides to tear down his tenements and erect decent affordable housing. But his family is aghast at his plan and plots to wreck it. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This marked the first time that the then 14-year-old Sidney Lumet worked on a film and his first of only four acting roles. He would not appear in another feature film until The Manchurian Candidate (2004) in an unrecognizable cameo appearance. See more »
Horrific commentary of early 20th century tenement housing
This film features the horrible realities of tenement housing which was in abundance during the early part of the 20th century. Shocking scenes of death and despair are very evident in the lives of the unfortunate people living in these "rat" holes. Sylvia Sidney is excellent as the crusader fighting against these "buildings of despair" knowing first hand because her own brother became a "victim" of living in these buildings. Leif Erickson is the "rich" landlord "by inheritance" of these "death traps" and joins the battle in tearing them down. The joining of the "poor" and "rich" in the struggle against tenement housing is what makes this film worthwhile to watch. If you are an activist against "injustice" then this is the type of film that will get your "dander" up.
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