32 user 16 critic

The Mayor of Hell (1933)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 24 June 1933 (USA)
2:30 | Trailer
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the state reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former ... See full summary »


Archie Mayo, Michael Curtiz (uncredited)


Edward Chodorov (screen play), Islin Auster (based on a story by)





Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Patsy
Madge Evans ... Dorothy
Arthur Byron ... Judge Gilbert
Allen Jenkins ... Mike
Dudley Digges ... Thompson
Frankie Darro ... Jimmy
Sheila Terry ... Blonde with Mike
Robert Barrat ... Fred Smith
Allen 'Farina' Hoskins ... Smoke (as Farina)
Harold Huber ... Joe
Dorothy Peterson ... Mrs. Smith
G. Pat Collins ... Brandon (as George Pat Collins)
Edwin Maxwell ... Louis Johnson
John Marston John Marston ... Hopkins
William V. Mong ... Mr. Walter


Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the state reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former gangster appointed deputy commissioner as a political favor, arrives - complete with hip flask and blonde. Gargan falls for activist nurse Dorothy and, inspired by her, takes over the administration to run the place on radical principles. But Thompson, to conceal his years of graft, needs a quick way to discredit Gargan. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


IT TAKES GUTS.....To Tell This Blood-Stained Story-but here it is-a Blast of Fear and Hate from the Underworld Depths! JAMES CAGNEY shocks you with an inferno of terrific thrills in "THE MAYOR OF HELL" THE CESSPOOL WHERE THE GUNMAN, RACKETEER AND MURDERER SPAWN! (Print Ad- Philadelphia Inquirer, ((Philadelphia, Penna.)) 30 June 1933) See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


James Cagney doesn't appear in this film until 24 minutes into the feature, which is only an hour and a half in length. See more »


When Dorothy goes into her office and locks Patsy out, there is a table outside the door on which four books are resting. In the next shot, a closeup of the table top, there are only two books. See more »


Lawyer: All he wants is that little velvet. You know, side money. Yeah, that deputy's salary.
See more »


Remade as Hell's Kitchen (1939) See more »

User Reviews

Precursor to the Dead End Kids
14 July 2004 | by SargebriSee all my reviews

Five years before the film Dead End hit theaters, this film was produced. This was definitely a film that tried to show what reformatories were really like. In most cases, the kids who were sent there didn't become reformed, they only came out harder and moved on to bigger crimes. James Cagney is great in this early role as Patsy, the racketeer who tries to keep the kids from making some of the same mistakes that he did by making conditions better for the boys in the camp. Dudley Digges played the perfect villain in Thompson, the warden of the school. He pretty much showed how when the odds were against Thompson and his cronies that he was nothing more than a coward. Also Allen Jenkins, who ironically would appear a few years later in the aforementioned Dead End, provided a lot of the humor as Patsy's stooge "Uncle Mike". Too bad this little gem is rarely shown on television anymore or that it is currently not out on DVD.

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English | Italian | Yiddish

Release Date:

24 June 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Reform School See more »


Box Office


$229,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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