7.4/10
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Dead End (1937)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 27 August 1937 (USA)
The lives of a young man and woman, an infamous gangster and a group of street kids converge one day in a volatile New York City slum.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Lillian Hellman (screen play), Sidney Kingsley (based upon the play by)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sylvia Sidney ... Drina
Joel McCrea ... Dave
Humphrey Bogart ... 'Baby Face' Martin
Wendy Barrie ... Kay
Claire Trevor ... Francey
Allen Jenkins ... Hunk
Marjorie Main ... Mrs. Martin
Billy Halop ... Tommy
Huntz Hall ... Dippy
Bobby Jordan ... Angel
Leo Gorcey ... Spit (as Leo B. Gorcey)
Gabriel Dell ... T.B.
Bernard Punsly ... Milty
Charles Peck Charles Peck ... Philip
Minor Watson ... Mr. Griswald
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Drama that roars fullblooded from the screen! (1944 rerelease poster) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 August 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead End: Cradle of Crime See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

An early gangster role for Humphrey Bogart that built on the success of his performance in The Petrified Forest (1936) the year before. Bogart's name appeared below Sylvia Sidney's in the opening credits. This was reversed for any subsequent re-releases. See more »

Quotes

Hugh 'Baby Face': [in disgust, finding out what Francey's profession is] Why didn't you get a job?
Francey: They don't grow on trees.
Hugh 'Baby Face': Why didn't you starve first?
Francey: Why didn't YOU?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Engefalos me vida... kai valvida!!! (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Boo-Hoo
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Carmen Lombardo and John Jacob Loeb
Lyrics by Edward Heyman
Played at the upstairs party and sung by Huntz Hall in the street
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"You dirty yeller dog you."
9 July 2016 | by utgard14See all my reviews

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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