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Dead End (1937)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 27 August 1937 (USA)
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1:42 | Trailer
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 Gordon
Joel McCrea ... Dave Connell
Humphrey Bogart ... Gil 'Baby Face' Martin
Wendy Barrie ... Kay Brown
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 ... Philip Griswald
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>

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Taglines:

THE GREATEST GANGSTER THRILLER THAT EVER EXPLODED FROM THE SCREEN! (1944 reissue print ad - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first appearance of the Dead End Kids, who later evolved into the East Side Kids and, later, the Bowery Boys. Producer Samuel Goldwyn brought the boys - who had appeared in the original Broadway production of the play - to Hollywood to appear in the movie. He later regretted the decision, as the boys ran wild through the studio, destroying property and crashing a truck through the wall of a soundstage. Afterwards, Goldwyn decided not to employ the boys again and sold their contract to Warner Brothers. See more »

Goofs

Trash and cockroaches appear and disappear on top of an empty dustbin lid by Kay. See more »

Quotes

Francey: You can stay, nobody will recognize your face.
Hugh 'Baby Face': Yeah,
[shows her his fingers]
Hugh 'Baby Face': but you can't change these. I've tried three times with battery acid, it doesn't work.
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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 »


Soundtracks

Girl of My Dreams
(1927) (uncredited)
Written by Sunny Clapp
Played after Francey leaves Martin
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User Reviews

 
Supporting Players Steal the Picture!
12 March 2005 | by bsmith5552See all my reviews

In "Dead End" the nominal stars are Sylvia Sidney and Joel McCrea but it is the supporting players that steal the picture. Great performances are turned in by the Dead End Kids (Billy Halop, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan, Leo Gorcey, Bernard Punsley), Humphrey Bogart, Claire Trevor and Marjorie Main. It also benefits greatly from the direction of William Wyler who keeps the story moving and makes the characters interesting.

"Dead End" was originally produced on the Broadway stage. The Dead End Kids re-enact their Broadway roles. The story takes place on the banks of the East River in New York where posh apartment buildings co-habit the neighborhood with the tenement slums. The plot centers on the activities of the people of the neighborhood one summer's day.

Dave Connell (McCrea) is a struggling architect looking for his big break. Drina (Sidney) is a struggling shop clerk who is involved in a labor dispute and hopes one day to be able to leave the neighborhood. Gangster "Baby Face" Martin (Bogart) returns to his childhood haunts hoping to see his mother (Main) and hook up with his old girlfriend Francey (Trevor). Hanging around the wharf are a group of teenage toughs (The Dead End Kids) one of whom, Tommy (Halop) is the brother of Drina.

The boys taunt rich kid Philip Griswald (Charles Peck) and lure him down to the street. There he is beaten up by the boys. His father (Minor Watson) is highly influential man who insists on justice for his son. One of the boys, "Spit" squeals on his pal and Tommy is arrested after stabbing Mr. Griswald in the hand.

Meanwhile Martin goes to see his mother and is shocked when she slaps him and calls him a murderer. Martin's pal "Hunk" (Allen Jenkins) locates Francey and arranges for her to come meet "Baby Face". Martin is doubly shocked when he learns that his former love has pursued a career on the streets.

During an altercation with Dave over the influencing of the boys, Martin stabs him and throws him into the river, leaving him for dead. Martin then hatches a plot to kidnap the rich kid Philip Griswald. But Dave returns, confronts Martin and..............

This film is arguably Bogey's best film of the 1930s. Oddly enough, it was made on loan out to Samuel Goldwyn. His expressions of surprise and disgust after meeting with his mother and Francey are a treasure to watch. Trevor's performance, however brief, was moving enough to garner her a best supporting actress Oscar nomination. Marjorie Main also only appears briefly but evokes great sympathy in her role as the tragic Mrs. Martin.

The Dead End Kids to a man turn in what are the best performances in the film. They would go on to appear in a series of Warner Bros films in the next two years before moving into several "B" series in the 40s and 50s. Also, look for Ward Bond as the doorman to the rich apartment building and Don "Red" Barry as an abalones doctor.

An excellent film.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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