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This Day and Age (1933)

High school students band together to dispense vigilante justice against a vicious gangland boss.


Cecil B. DeMille


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Bickford ... Louis Garrett
Richard Cromwell ... Steve Smith
Judith Allen ... Gay Merrick
Harry Green ... Herman Farbstein
Bradley Page ... Toledo
Edward J. Nugent ... Don Merrick (as Eddie Nugent)
Ben Alexander ... Morry Dover
Lester Arnold Lester Arnold ... Sam Weber
Michael Stuart Michael Stuart ... Billy Gordon (mistakenly listed in end credits as Billy Anderson)
Oscar Rudolph Oscar Rudolph ... Gus Ruffo
Mickey Daniels ... Mosher
Fuzzy Knight ... Max
George Barbier ... Judge Michael Maguire
Charles Middleton ... District Attorney (as Charles B. Middleton)
Warner Richmond ... Defense Attorney


High school students band together to dispense vigilante justice against a vicious gangland boss.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The FIRST Great Spectacle of Modern Times.


Crime | Drama







Release Date:

25 August 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rough on Rats See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Chester Morris was second choice for the role of Louis Garrett, but he proved to be too expensive. See more »


[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »


References M (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

Probably the rarest of DeMille's talkies.
22 May 2001 | by reptilicusSee all my reviews

***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** A Cecil B. DeMille film that no one remembers? You bet, and this is it! Still under copyright to Paramount Studios this film is not technically available commercially but luckily there is a print at the Library Of Congress and they'll be happy to screen it for you if you make an appointment with them some 2 weeks in advance (see what I go through to write these things!) Originally I wanted to see this because it is one of John Carradine's earliest roles and some reference books list him as being the "graduating class valedictorian". I found that amazing because in 1933 Long John was about 27 and to see him play a high school student really piqued my curiosity. Well it turns out he plays Mr. Abernathy, the assistant principal and he gets billed as "John Peter Richmond". It is by no means his only DeMille movie, he is heard but not seen in SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932) and THE CRUSADES (1933) and you can spot him if you look quickly in CLEOPATRA (1934). Now as to the movie itself. The story takes place in Smalltown, USA where the local tailor is idolised by the school kids. When the nice old man is murdered on orders from the local gang boss (Charles Bickford) the kids find clues the cops overlooked but the man is acquitted anyway for lack of evidence. Knowing he is guilty the kids appeal to the adults in charge but all they get is one lecture after another about how they don't understand the adult world and how they will learn for themselves when they take their place in the real world. (I fully expected one of the old fogey's to say "Tut tut my boy." but no one does, thank goodness.) When the kids try to get the goods on the man themselves they only succeed in getting one of their group framed on a charge of attempted murder. This pushes the clean cut kids over the edge and they decide real fast that since fighting clean does not work it's time to fight dirty.

WARNING WARNING! I have to talk about how the movie ends but it is vital that I do so to properly analyse this film. If you don't want to spoil it for yourself skip the next paragraph. If you want to learn more, by all means continue.

The kids from all the high schools work together to kidnap the gang boss. The local "good girl" pretends to be a trollop to distract the bosses right hand man so the boys can grab him. (Don't worry, she gets away before the lecherous gunsel can do anything to her!) Taking him to a construction site they resort to the sort of brutality usually used by the gangsters themselves. The gang boss is suspended by ropes over a pit of live, very hungry rats and slowly lowered into it until he confesses to the murder and the framing of the boy. His gang, however, shows up armed to the teeth and not about the hesitate machine gunning the kids if they don't release their boss. Luckily for once the cops arrive on time and this time there is enough evidence to put everyone away for a long time.


Admittedly DeMille overdoes it a bit here. Carrying the trussed up gangster into town on a palate the kids sing a medley of patriotic songs and the sequence goes on a little too long, ultimately blunting the impact of the powerful scene preceeding it. This detraction is not enough to ruin the whole film though. Performances are very good. You'll spot Charles Middleton (2 years away from immortality as Ming The Merciless in FLASH GORDON) on the side of the law as a DA. Watch for character actors like Guy Usher (DEVIL BAT), Paul Hurst (ISLAND OF LOST SOULS) and Billy Gilbert in supporting roles. Yes, it is a hard film to find, but well worth all the effort.

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