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Streets of New York (1939)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 12 April 1939 (USA)
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 »



(story: Abe Lincoln of 9th Avenue) (as Robert D. Andrews), (screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews)

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Cast overview:
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 ...
David Durand ...
Spike Morgan
Buddy Pepper ...


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 <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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

Mean Streets for Jackie Cooper
6 April 2011 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

In the basement of the building where he grew up on the mean "Streets of New York", teenage law student Jackie Cooper (as James "Jimmy" Michael Keenan) lives with crippled orphan Martin Spellman (as William "Gimpy" McKinley Smith). The little lad is the youngest of Mr. Cooper's newsboy troupe. Cooper runs a newsstand by day while studying law at night. The perseverant and highly ethical young man is known as "The Abe Lincoln of Ninth Avenue" (giving the film a second title).

Cooper and his newsboys must contend with tough-guy rival David Durand (as "Spike" Morgan), who breaks young Spellman's crutches and vows to take over Cooper's beat. A greater threat, ironically, is posed by Cooper's older brother Dick Purcell (as "Tap" Keenan), an elusive and successful businessman gangster who makes headlines in the newspapers Cooper sells. Big brother's criminal ways lead to heartbreak for Cooper, but happiness may be just around the corner...

The story is set during Christmas, which should hint at where events lead. It's all very programmed, but classier than you might be expecting from a low-budget "Monogram" production. A natural, Cooper gives the characterization his usual best. The scene where Cooper gives the reluctant Spellman a rough bath, after ironing in his shorts, is one highlight (the outtakes are classic). George Cleveland (as "Pop" O'Toole) is endearing as a grandfatherly neighbor with a gambling habit.

The other members of Cooper's newsy street gang are Sidney Miller (as "Jiggsy"), Buddy Pepper (as "Flatfoot"), Bobby Stone (as "Beansy"), and William Bucker (as "Sammy"). They seem to be modeled after the "Dead End" kids, and appeared in related films. It's almost impossible not to join in when the lads sing "Silent Night" after Christmas dinner with judge George Irving (as Joe Carroll) and pretty niece Marjorie Reynolds (as Anne). "Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace."

****** Streets of New York (4/12/39) William Nigh ~ Jackie Cooper, Martin Spellman, George Irving, George Cleveland

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