Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy return in this sequel to the original Boys Town. This time the school faces financial trouble as Father Flannigan tries to help every little boy he meets. ...
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Edwin L. Marin
Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy return in this sequel to the original Boys Town. This time the school faces financial trouble as Father Flannigan tries to help every little boy he meets. Larry Nunn and Dwayne Hickman join in this time around as Flannigan discovers a reform school that has neither reforming nor schooling. It's up to Flannigan, Whitey, and the rest of the school to teach them there's no such thing as a bad boy. Written by
This film's television premiere took place in Troy NY/Hagaman NY/Adams MA Tuesday 2 April 1957 on the combined services of WCDA/WCDB/WCDC (Channels 19, 29, and 41); it next aired in Hartford CT Friday 26 April 1957 on WHCT (Channel 18), followed by Seattle 7 May 1957 on KING (Channel 5), by Philadelphia 8 May 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6), by Norfolk VA 28 May 1957 on WTAR (Channel 3), by Kansas City MO 27 May 1957 on KCMO (Channel 5), by Los Angeles 28 June 1957 on KTTV (Channel 11), by Altoona PA 26 July 1957 on WFBG (Channel 10), by Minneapolis 31 July 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9), and by Chicago 28 September 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2); it was first shown in New York City 10 January 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2) and in San Francisco 5 September 1959 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »
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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