6.7/10
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The Devil Is a Sissy (1936)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | 18 September 1936 (USA)
A well-bred young English lad living in lower Manhattan tries to gain acceptance from his not-so-well-bred peers at school.

Directors:

W.S. Van Dyke, Rowland Brown (uncredited)

Writers:

John Lee Mahin (screenplay), Richard Schayer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Freddie Bartholomew ... Claude
Jackie Cooper ... 'Buck' Murphy
Mickey Rooney ... 'Gig' Stevens
Ian Hunter ... Jay Pierce
Peggy Conklin ... Rose
Katharine Alexander ... Hilda Pierce
Gene Lockhart ... Mr. Murphy
Kathleen Lockhart ... Mrs. Murphy
Jonathan Hale ... Judge Holmes
Etienne Girardot ... Principal
Sherwood Bailey Sherwood Bailey ... 'Bugs'
Buster Slaven ... 'Six-Toes'
Grant Mitchell ... Paul Krumpp
Harold Huber ... Willie
Stanley Fields ... Joe
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Storyline

Claude Pierce is delighted to move in with his father, Jay Pierce, a struggling architect living in lower Manhattan, for the six months the divorce agreement of his parents specified. He's come at a particularly bad time for his classmate, Gig Stevens, whose father is to be executed that night for murder, so he's treated badly by Gig as well as Gig's pal, Buck Murphy, and their gang. But he takes boxing lessons and holds his own in a fight with the older and heavier Buck, so he is grudgingly accepted into the gang. Their chief interest is to get a proper tombstone for Gig's father, costing $80. When stealing and selling tires proves too slow, Claude suggests burglarizing some rich kid's home for his toys, and pawning them. Claude leads them to a house at night, where rich looking toys are found, stolen and pawned. However, a suspicious policeman has them brought before a judge where Claude eventually confesses they were his toys; he knew his mother was away and the house was ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Greatest Human Drama

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

18 September 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Na pragu življenja - Otroci s ceste See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film in which the three leading male child stars of the 1930s (Freddie Bartholomew, Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper) all appeared together. See more »

Goofs

Mr. Murphy states he was in England in 1917 with the 77th Infantry Division. That division did not move to Europe until April 1918. See more »

Quotes

Judge Holmes: Buck, eh? That's a swell name. They used to call me "Stinky." You know why?
Robert 'Buck' Murphy: I guess so.
Judge Holmes: Well, I certainly led with my chin that time.
See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM: When the Lion Roars: The Lion Reigns Supreme (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Say Ah!
Music and Lyrics by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown
Played on piano and sung by Peggy Conklin (uncredited) and
Joined by Etta McDaniel (uncredited), Freddie Bartholomew (uncredited), Mickey Rooney (uncredited) and Jackie Cooper (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Three Young Stars Make Film A Success
29 March 2002 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

Three little tough guys learn the value of friendship & loyalty, during family crises and troubles with the law.

While overlong & predictable, THE DEVIL IS A SISSY is the only chance to see all three of MGM's little 1930's princes in one film. Freddie Bartholomew, Jackie Cooper & Mickey Rooney (12, 14 and 15 respectively when the film was released) are a great deal of fun to watch & make a terrific cinematic trio.

At this point, they were all at different stages in their careers. Jackie's heyday as a child star - including a stint with Hal Roach's celebrated OUR GANG - was in the past. Freddie was in the very midst of his intense, brief major stardom. And Mickey was exhibiting glimpses of the talent that in a few years would make him the biggest star in Hollywood.

Although a ‘youth picture' in every way, there are several good performances from a small crowd of adults, most notably Englishman Ian Hunter, as Freddie's sincere, honest father. Also appearing to advantage in smaller parts are Kathleen Alexander as Freddie's emotional mother; Gene & Kathleen Lockhart as Jackie's stern parents; and Peggy Conklin as Mickey's free-spirited aunt. Little Etienne Girardot appears as a fierce school principal, as does Jonathan Hale playing a sympathetic judge and Grant Mitchell as a serious suitor to Mickey's mom.

Harold Huber, Stanley Fields & Frank Puglia are a gang of brutal thugs who run afoul of the three youngsters, while Hattie McDaniel's older sister, Etta, makes the most of her one scene as Miss Conklin's maid.

That's an unbilled Dorothy Peterson doing a fine job as Mickey's mother. Movie mavens should recognize Christian Rub as a funerary stone mason; Ian Wolfe as a pawnbroker; and George Davis as a French diner owner - all uncredited.

The good production values bestowed by MGM are also a great asset to the film, particularly in the neighborhood scenes.


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