After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner former detective Johnny Blake knocks him down convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the ... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
The Dead End Kids are introduced in their intricate East Side slum, overlooked by the apartments of the rich. Their antics, some funny, some vicious, alternate with subplots: unemployed architect Dave is torn between Drina, sweet but equally poor, and Kay, a rich man's mistress; gangster Baby Face Martin returns to his old neighborhood and finds that nobody is glad to see him. Then violent crime, both juvenile and adult, impacts the neighborhood and its people.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Opening credits prologue: Every street in New York ends in a river. For many years the dirty banks of the East River were lined with the tenements of the poor. Then the rich, discovering that the river traffic was picturesque, moved their houses eastward. And now the terraces of these great apartment houses look down into the windows of the tenement poor. See more »
Brilliant adaptation of a hit Broadway play about life in the slums of New York during the Great Depression. A gangster on the run from the law returns to the neighborhood he grew up in to plot his next move. Add to that a little romance and a gang of street kids getting into trouble and you've got a first-rate Warner Bros. urban drama picture (only this wasn't made by Warners). Humphrey Bogart plays the gangster character 'Baby Face' Martin. In some ways it was a very familiar role to many others he'd played up to this point, but this one was a bit more layered and gave him a chance to flex his acting muscles some. Solid turns from Joel McCrea, Wendy Barrie, Claire Trevor, and Marjorie Main. Allen Jenkins is always fun to watch. Next to Bogart, I'd have to say the standout is the lovely Sylvia Sidney, one of my favorite actresses from this period. She had some of the most expressive eyes in the business.
Among other things, the film's notable for being the first screen appearance of the Dead End Kids, who would go on to appear in several WB gangster pictures (in basically the same roles as this) before starring in a few series of their own under different names, my favorite of which was the Bowery Boys. It's interesting to see them here looking and acting much more like roughneck teenagers than later where they were clearly adults behaving like overgrown kids. Directed by William Wyler, this is a "message movie" from a time when those types of movies actually felt earnest and not phony or preachy. Yes it's pretty much a filmed stage play, which was very common in the 1930s, but the great cast, excellent sets, and Gregg Toland's beautiful photography goes a long way to bringing it all to life. Not one you'll want to pass up if you're a fan of the stars or the period.
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