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Jimmy, an idealistic and hard-working young man, has just arrived in New York City with dreams of making his fortune. Along the way he faces numerous obstacles, opportunities and temptations, but through it all, he considers the actions of his hero, Abraham Lincoln, for guidance. Will Jimmy see his dreams come true, or will he be another of the countless hopefuls chewed up and spit out by New York's mean streets? Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Streets of New York" is not a particularly good film. It has a HUGE dose of schmaltz and the main character seems way too good to be true. However, despite these things and a very low budget, I actually found it to be a decent time-passer.
Jackie Cooper plays Jimmy---a very nice young man growing up in poverty. He is forced to work very hard for a teenager and there are many forces around him pushing him towards a life of crime (such as his gangster brother). Yet, despite all this, he's an amazingly optimistic and caring young man--with a huge heart and a desire to make something of himself. He takes night classes and hopes to one day go to law school. Now he COULD go for free--with his hood brother agreeing to pay all the expenses. However, he doesn't like the strings that are attached to the deal and he's just too decent to consider it.
Throughout the film, Jimmy runs a corner news stand and employs a group of other underprivileged young men to sell papers. The youngest of the group is 'gimpy'--probably one of the more politically incorrect names in 1930s films, as the young boy is disabled and walks with crutches. However, a neighborhood punk keeps threatening Jimmy and his workers. What's to become of this group of nice but desperate youngsters? At times, the film seems a bit heavy-handed and lays on the schmaltz very heavy at times. However, if you can take it, the film is rather sweet and enjoyable. Some may hate the ending, as it's a bit vague and leaves the viewer wondering what's to become of the kids, but I like this actually, as life ISN'T full of answers and I think the viewers can infer what would happen next without it being handed to them. Not a great film by any stretch, but a nice little time-passer.
By the way, if you are wondering why Cooper was playing in such a low-budget film, once Cooper became a young man and was no longer the cute little kid, MGM dropped him like a hot potato. It's a shame, as the guy could still act and you wonder what his career would have been like if they'd kept him under contract. He DID go on to appear in a ton of films and TV shows as an adult, but much of it was from lesser quality studios.
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