|Dead End (1937)
Run time: Passed | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Director: William Wyler
Writers: Lillian Hellman, Sidney Kingsley
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart
Its wartime and young people are rushing into hasty – sometimes unwise marriages, but not pretty, level-headed Alice. Then she meets Joe, a G.I. on a two-day pass, and falls heart-over level-head in love. Garland and Walker are sweet hearts for the ages in this glowing valentine of a movie.
Budget: $300,000 (estimated)
Toronto Film Society is back in the theatre! However, we’re still pleased to continue to bring you films straight to your home! Beginning Season 73 until now we have...
It offers a vivid portrait of people caught up in a continual fight to somehow satisfy themselves despite the oppressive environment that seemed to quiet their every attempt
Joel McCrea is a frustrated architect who dreams of tearing down the slums and Sylvia Sidney portrays a shopgirl struggling for identity and meaning in her life, a life made even more complicated by having to look after her brother (Billy Halop). The boy idolizes the decadent Bogart, an excessive admiration shared by the rest of the Dead End Kids, here recreating their original Broadway roles with noisy good humor
Opposing these idealists is their real threat, Bogart, an assassin named Baby Face Martin Bogart is impolitely rejected by a mother (Marjorie Main) who hates him and an ex-girl friend (Claire Trevor) who leaves him bitter and disillusioned when he discovers that she has become a hooker
Rebuked by those he had been sentimental enough to want to visit, he rapidly reverts to represent beforehand and plans a kidnapping in order to rescue something from the consumed affair
"Dead End" remains one of Bogart's best films, where the actor proves that he is capable of handling difficult material with considerable skill
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.
Excellent drama of the New York tenements of 1937 where the rich people live along the same street as the poor people. Movie focuses on two young lovers (Sylvia Sydney, Joel McCrea), killer Baby Face Martin (Humphrey Bogart) and the Dead End Kids (later to become the Bowery Boys). From the incredible opening shot it basically focuses on the kids–it shows the harrowing lives the kids have to live through and how Sydney and McCrea try to keep them good while Bogart teaches them how to rob and kill. Pretty graphic for its day and still strong. Excellent performances by all, especially Bogart, Sydney and Billy Halop (as one of the kids). Also Marjorie Main, Claire Trevor and Ward Bond shine in supporting roles.
This had huge censorship problems–it was adapted from a play and was HEAVILY cut (the language was MUCH stronger in the play and when the kids went swimming they weren't wearing bathing suits!) and Warner Bros. had to fight to keep it strong. Aside from a nice, moral ending this is pretty gritty. A must-see and seeing Bogart, Sydney and McCrea so young is amusing.
It’s a dead end street in New York that ends at the river. It’s here that a wide assortment of characters from different walks of life come together in a pressure cooker setting. Rich, poor, kindhearted and hardhearted all come together. In Dead End, a young woman and her teenage brother struggle to survive. An architect works for a better life. A gangster comes home to visit his mother. A well kept woman chooses between love and wealth. The rich and the poor get glimpses of one another’s lives at the waters edge.
This movie draws us into a unique place and time. It gives us intimate portraits into peoples lives. It makes contrasts and it shows similarities between people. It’s one of a kind and director William Wyler has given us something special here. Sylvia Sidney, Humphrey Bogart, Marjorie Main, Allen Jenkins, the Dead End Kids and Ward Bond give standout performances. The 1930’s atmosphere is palpable. I rate this film 91/100. It’s unique and absorbing.