|Index||3 reviews in total|
Here, they (Billy Halop, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell and Bernard Punsley)
are all inmates of a reform school, along with little "Pesky" (Bobs
Watson), who was there to be cute and cry a lot, and dang if they all
aren't orphan sons of deceased members of the Valentine Gang which was
wiped out by Spike the Butcher (Edward Pawley) and his gang a few years
earlier. The only survivor of the Valentine gang was Valentine and he
was sent to prison.
Later the boys are paroled to the custody of a man using the name of James J. Ryan (Barton MacLane), but Ryan is really Valentine, who has served his sentence, and is living quietly on a stock ranch with his wife Mary Ryan (Gladys George), former gang moll.
Ryan (now reformed) is trying to raise $50,000 to build a trade school to help unfortunate boys. But Tom (Billy Halop)isn't all reformed yet and meets up with a stranger who enlists him in a conspiracy to steal the money. The stranger turns out to be none other than Spike the Butcher, the man responsible for killing Tom's and the other four boy's fathers.
Tom raises a stink when he learns who Spike the Butcher really is, but Spike locks Tom and the others in a basement and goes off to kill Valentine/Ryan and steal the trade-school money.
Sorry, but we can't tell the two or three souls who haven't seen this film and can't figure out what happens next just what does happen next, although the remaining vast majority who haven't seen this film could still write the finish.
Four of the original Dead End Kids play the sons of former gang members
of Barton MacLane's mob. MacLane went up for income tax evasion, the
bane of organized crime. His gang including the fathers of these kids
were wiped out by a rival gang headed by the as yet unapprehended
MacLane's now out and his wife and daughter have a nice ranch they're living on when juvenile reformatory warden Eily Mahlon persuades MacLane to take on Billy Halop, Bernard Punsley, Huntz Hall, and Gabriel Dell and young Bobs Watson who's attached himself to the older boys as wards. Wife Gladys George and daughter Evelyn Ankers warm to the idea, but the kids aren't having any if MacLane doesn't plan to return to his criminal ways.
In the meantime Pawley still wants to settle with MacLane so things you know will get lively.
Hit The Road is young basic B picture programmer to go with some bigger budget Universal feature, possibly a Deanna Durbin or an Abbott&Costello feature. There's either some sloppy editing or the version I saw was butchered for television. I do remember seeing this some 40 years ago on television. It's an easy to take film without any great pretensions.
After unsuccessfully trying to break out of reform school, juvenile
guttersnipes Billy Halop (as "Tom"), Huntz Hall (as "Pig"), Gabriel
Dell (as "String"), and Bernard Punsly (as "Ape") receive a reprieve
when mob boss gone legit Barton MacLane (as James J. Ryan) agrees to
serve as their guardian. Mr. MacLane would like to make amends, since
"The Dead End Kids" became orphans on his watch. So, the "sons of old
employees" go to live on the now apparently very wealthy MacLane's
estate. There, they come under the care of his understanding wife,
Gladys George (as Molly). Ms. George turns out to have a street-wise
Sensing Mr. Halop is the "Dead End" kid leader, George tries some straight talk with him. But, Halop and the lads aren't ready to reform. They become involved with the mobsters responsible for killing their fathers. Halop realizes he's been had, and tries to retrieve some stolen money (which was set to start a school for wayward boys), with his pals' help. Joining the "Dead End/Little Tough Guy" group for a go-round is pre-teen crybaby Bobs Watson (as "Pesky"), from the "Boys Town" movies. Missing is Bobby Jordan, who joined Leo Gorcey and "The East Side Kids" (though Mr. Jordan would be lured back for one last Universal Picture).
**** Hit the Road (6/27/41) Joe May ~ Billy Halop, Bobs Watson, Gladys George, Barton MacLane
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