Mr. and Mrs. Maitland invite Whitey to their home on a trial basis. Whitey tries to visit a friend in reform school and inmate Flip is hiding in car as Whitey leaves. Flip steals money and ... See full summary »
Mr. and Mrs. Maitland invite Whitey to their home on a trial basis. Whitey tries to visit a friend in reform school and inmate Flip is hiding in car as Whitey leaves. Flip steals money and both boys go to reform school. Father Flanagan exposes the conditions in the school and the boys are released to him. Ted's dog is killed but Ted can walk. The Maitlands work to pay off the debts threatening Boys Town. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Father Flanagan desperately needs $200,000 to finance the two new wings of Boys Town, the community's young reformed mayor Whitey lets himself be adopted on a trial basis by a couple that might help raise the money, and a new kid, Ted with the broken back and the many ghosts in the closet, reluctantly enters Boy Town, and it seems like he is never going to trust humankind again.
Three years after the enormous success of 'Boy Town', director Norman Taurog and his brilliant cast is at it again, reforming young sinners and fighting their battle against the inhuman ways children were treated in reform schools. Father Flanagan preaches an anti-punishment policy way ahead of its time: "There is no redemption in a lash", he says.
It is Whitey, this time around, that gets to say the immortal words, "There's no such thing as a bad boy", and adds: "... someone told me once". And again Mickey Rooney is the center of attention here, I was once more amazed at this young actor's ease, the complete confidence that he exudes plus the vulnerability. Never once does he come across as too cocky, he is just always quite right, which is an art. Rooney was a brilliant, intuitive player, and it is about time someone gave him credit for it.
The rest of the acting is not quite on that level. Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan plays the easy part here, sufficing to smile warmly and speak heatedly, but he is nice to be in a room with.
As always, modern viewers cringe at the angelic choirs that accompany the miracles that make all the pieces fit together, and they must have sounded grating even in 1941. But, beggars can't be choosers, and I like this second round of Boys Town almost as much as the first.
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