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Streets of New York (1939)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  12 April 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 64 users  
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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 ... See full summary »


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Title: Streets of New York (1939)

Streets of New York (1939) on IMDb 6.4/10

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A popular high school valedictorian and star athlete becomes a pariah when it's discovered that his father is a former bootlegger.

Director: William Nigh
Stars: Jackie Cooper, Robert Warwick, Lucy Gilman


Credited cast:
Martin Spellman ...
William McKinley 'Gimpy' Smith
Marjorie Reynolds ...
Anne Carroll
Dick Purcell ...
T.P. 'Tap' Keenan
George Cleveland ...
Pop O'Toole
Judge Carroll
Robert Emmett O'Connor ...
Police Officer Burke
Sidney Miller ...
Jiggsy, newsboy
David Durand ...
Spike Morgan
Buddy Pepper ...
Flatfoot, newsboy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Gould ...
Undetermined Supporting Role (scenes deleted)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

12 April 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Abe Lincoln of Ninth Avenue  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

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User Reviews

Budding Lawyer Seeks The Means For Handling Spirited Charges, Young And Old.
19 October 2007 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

Fashioned from an admixture of several cinematic genres, this hybrid Monogram Pictures melodrama is perhaps most distinguished for its naturalistic deployment of key players, in particular the lead, Jackie Cooper, and talented child actor Martin Spellman. A remarkably mature (16 year old!) Cooper performs as Jimmy Keenan, owner/operator of a busy New York City corner newsstand while supervising a diverse collection of rambunctious newsboys, including the very young "Gimpy" Smith (Spellman) whose abrasive veneer fails to cover his juvenile vulnerability, all while Keenan is attending night school, his purpose to become an attorney, while adopting as his own the ethical principles of his idol, Abraham Lincoln (the film's original title was ABRAHAM LINCOLN OF NINTH STREET). Although Jimmy faces a violent foe in Spike Moore (David Durand) who intends to arrogate by force his street corner business, and is additionally burdened with the unsavoury reputation earned by Keenan's gangster brother Tap (Dick Purcell), he rejects all offers of assistance, instead facing up to Spike and his confederates while looking after his youthful employees along with elderly "Pop" O'Toole (George Cleveland), who lives in a room next to Jimmy's within the basement of the old house wherein the Keenan brothers had been raised. Artless in his resolution to do only what is morally correct, Jimmy nevertheless finds that it is increasingly difficult to pardon the sociopathic behaviour of Tap and of Moore, so that in time he, Gimpy, and the other newsboys warmly welcome the kindness offered by Judge Carroll (George Irving) and his daughter Anne (Marjorie Reynolds) as the film moves towards a poignant conclusion. The supporting cast is composed for its largest part of very competent players, while Cooper neatly forsakes all opportunities to emote, instead creating a noteworthy performance for one so young by playing the part of an older man, in clear contrast to later cinematic norms that determine actors will fill roles that are below their actual ages. The melodrama is capably directed without affectation by old hand William Nigh, and Harry Neumann does all one might desire as cinematographer for a production that, as with virtually all Monogram pictures, is granted only sparse funding. Newly reissued upon an Alpha Video DVD that is not remastered, the film's general quality of both visual and audio reproduction is good, with few skips. However, heavy cutting, particularly for the final scenes, becomes corruptive for such an episodic scenario as has this work. In spite of that, the piece is now available in a format that is as well constituted as can be expected and will provide a viewer an opportunity to enjoy some strongly realistic, well-photographed sequences.

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