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THE BOWERY BOYS on DVD: continuing discussion of Warner's eventual release plans (NEW UPDATE 10/2 Po

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 24, 2007.

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  1. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    Just watched Spook Chasers last night. All-in-all this one wasn't too bad! Satch really let loose in this one. Percy Helton was also fun as Mike Clancy, a big improvement over Miss Kelly. Yeah, the gags were pretty standard stuff, but there was a nice energy to this one, mostly thanks to Huntz and Percy. I'm ranking this as the best of the Clements films so far.

    1. The Bowery Boys Meet The Monsters (34)
    2. Blonde Dynamite (17)
    3. Master Minds (16)
    4. Hold That Baby! (14)
    5. Blues Busters (20)
    6. Private Eyes (32)
    7. Paris Playboys (33)
    8. Dig That Uranium (40)
    9. Crazy Over Horses (24)
    10. Bowery Bombshell (3)
    11. Clipped Wings (31)
    12. Ghost Chasers (22)
    13. Let's Go Navy! (23)
    14. In Fast Company (2)
    15. Jungle Gents (35)
    16. Jail Busters (39)
    17. Angels In Disguise (15)
    18. Spy Chasers (38)
    19. Fighting Fools (13)
    20. Feudin' Fools (27)
    21. Bowery To Bagdad (36)
    22. Lucky Losers (18)
    23. High Society (37)
    24. Hold That Line (25)
    25. Trouble Makers (12)
    26. Live Wires (1)
    27. Triple Trouble (19)
    28. Jinx Money (10)
    29. Bowery Buckaroos (8)
    30. Loose In London (30)
    31. Bowery Battalion (21)
    32. News Hounds (7)
    33. Here Come The Marines (26)
    34. Crashing Las Vegas (41)
    35. No Holds Barred (28)
    36. Smuggler's Cove (11)
    37. Jalopy (29)
    38. Spook Busters (4)
    39. Hard Boiled Mahoney (6)
    40. Mr. Hex (5)
    41. Angels' Alley (9)
    42. Spook Chasers (45)
    43. Hold That Hypnotist (44)
    44. Fighting Trouble (42)
    45. Hot Shots (43)
     
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  2. Joe Davis

    Joe Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    Spook Chasers also introduces Eddie "Blinky" LeRoy to the cast. Blinky was supposedly written in because it was felt Huntz needed another comic to play off - by this point, it's pretty obvious that Stanley Clements was more of the straight man.

    Eddie was a stand-up comic whom Huntz met on Milton Berle's TV show back in the early '50s. Huntz found working with Berle, the king of upstaging, difficult. Eddie taught Huntz how to upstage Berle! A few years later when Eddie auditioned for the Bowery Boys, Huntz recognized him and had him hired.

    I always liked Eddie - he put a nice amount of energy into his performance, even if he didn't have many lines in a scene. In fact, I think he would have made a good replacement for Whitey.

    The writers made a huge mistake in having Duke deliver a malapropism at one point in the film. I can't recall what it was offhand - perhaps something about "jumping to 'confusions.'" Dukey is Dukey, not the Chief!

    There is an ironic line from Duke during the last third of the film. Chuck and Myron have been tied up in a closet, unbeknownst to the others. While talking to a nervous Sach, Duke says something to the effect of, "Why can't you be like Chuck and Myron? They haven't said a word!" I doubt this was intentional, but it seems the background guys couldn't escape "no lines" comments, even after Leo was gone!
     
  3. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Yes I always like Eddie "Blinky" Leroy. Too bad he came to the series too late. He was the closest the series ever got to a replacement for Whitey. Someone for Huntz to play dumb with. They should have added him in 1952 instead of Gil Stratton Jr. This was Percy Heltons one and only appearance as Mike Clancy he is replaced by Dick Elliot playing the same role for 2 films.
     
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  4. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    Can't believe I didn't mention "Blinky"! He sure beats Myron by a mile.
     
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  5. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Myron will be around for 1 more film and then its back to 4 bowery boys including Blinky for the final 2 films.
     
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  6. Joe Davis

    Joe Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    Just as the Boys are entering the house for the first time in Spook Chasers, Huntz ad-libs a line to Jimmy Murphy - "You - you wait in the car in case there are any calls," or something like that. Myron then calls Sach an "idiot." Is it just me, or was Jimmy trying not to laugh during that brief moment?
     
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  7. Message #1747 of 1780 Jun 30, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
    Joe Davis

    Joe Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    Newsboys' Home (12/23/1938) - Directed by Harold Young and Arthur Lubin. Written by Gordon Young and Charles Grayson. Costarring Jackie Cooper, Edmund Lowe, Irving Pichel, Samuel S. Hinds, Edward Norris, Horace MacMahon, and Harry Beresford.

    Country boy 'Rifle' Edwards (Jackie Cooper) relocates to New York, and begins living in a Newsboys' Home. But when the Home's own paper starts to lose business, thanks to new management and a circulation war started by a crooked politician (Irving Pichel), and Rifle friends leave to work for the politician's rival paper, it's up to Rifle and Sailor to save the day.

    Back at Universal, Little Tough Guys in Society had evidently done well enough for the studio to continue the series. While the previous entry was an all out comedy, it was decided to try the Guys in a drama this time around. The cast of Tough Guys remained pretty much the same, although leader Frankie Thomas was replaced by Elisha Cook, Jr.

    The real star of the film is Jackie Cooper, now moving his way into the B-movie department since adolescence has more than taken away his cuteness. However, he has developed into a fine actor.

    Cooper's "Rifle" character is introduced as having a very strong bond with his father, the town sheriff (Joseph Crehan). Sheriff Edwards is killed early on in the film, in a way that seems just a tad on the lazy side. He manages to handcuff a notoriously dangerous gangster in his office. If the gangster is that dangerous, shouldn't the sheriff call for back-up? He then uncuffs the guy to get his fingerprints. Real smart move. The gangster is able to get to the sheriff's gun and shoot him.

    The Sheriff's goodbye to Rifle seems a bit The Champ-ish. Isn't Jackie a little too old to be calling his father "daddy?"

    After his father's death, Rifle decides to leave town. After spending (what's said to be) a year on the road, doing various odd jobs, Rifle eventually makes his way to New York. Without a dime in his pocket and no food to eat, he takes refuge at the local Newsboys' Home where he meets the Little Tough Guys. The Guys need someone to fight Danny in their latest boxing match. They promise Rifle that he can eat if he wins. Rifle manages to win, despite apparently having not had food in a few days. A tad implausible, but it gains him acceptance into the gang.

    The guys are able to stay at the home thanks to newspaper owner Howard Price Dutton (Samuel S. Hinds). But when Howard dies, the paper is left in the hands of his daughter Gwen (Dead End's Wendy Barrie). Gwen's decisions to make the paper more high-brow slowly kills the business. Perhaps I read too much into this, but I felt that there was a slight sexist remark with the paper failing because a woman was put in charge. Though I suppose the role could have easily been written for a man.

    Matters are made worse when politician Davenport buys up the rival newspaper in order to swing the upcoming election. Much of the rest of the film is spent on the circulation war - the rival paper bullies the failing one, the failing one tries to fight back... there seemed to be quite a bit of that in the film. Danny and most of the other Little Tough Guys wind up becoming rivals to Rifle after being convinced that there is little hope for their own paper.

    The film's climax involves a chaotic street battle between both sides. In the end it's Danny and the Guys who manage to save Rifle and the newspaper, bringing everyone back together and ending the war. The film doesn't really have an ending - it just kind of stops. Gwen and her boyfriend (Edmund Lowe) help Rifle and Danny sell more newspapers. Gwen and the guys laugh at the idea of a woman becoming a newsboy. That's literally all that happens for the last 30 seconds.

    Newsboys' Home is a busy film, but there's enough action to keep one interested. However, the Little Tough Guys take an extreme backseat to the story, giving them little time to run wild and crack jokes. Still, from a historical standpoint, it's interesting to watch. A Newboys' Home, and the idea of a newspaper war, is something you just won't find today.

    B :)



     
  8. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    Just watched Looking For Danger last night and this my favorite of the Clements era so far (sorry, but I just can't rank any of these higher than the Gorcey era films). Huntz is especially sharp in this one. I always love when he puts on an accent and he gets to dance again here. The story is no great shakes, but the film breezed by pretty quickly and kept me pretty amused throughout.

    1. The Bowery Boys Meet The Monsters (34)
    2. Blonde Dynamite (17)
    3. Master Minds (16)
    4. Hold That Baby! (14)
    5. Blues Busters (20)
    6. Private Eyes (32)
    7. Paris Playboys (33)
    8. Dig That Uranium (40)
    9. Crazy Over Horses (24)
    10. Bowery Bombshell (3)
    11. Clipped Wings (31)
    12. Ghost Chasers (22)
    13. Let's Go Navy! (23)
    14. In Fast Company (2)
    15. Jungle Gents (35)
    16. Jail Busters (39)
    17. Angels In Disguise (15)
    18. Spy Chasers (38)
    19. Fighting Fools (13)
    20. Feudin' Fools (27)
    21. Bowery To Bagdad (36)
    22. Lucky Losers (18)
    23. High Society (37)
    24. Hold That Line (25)
    25. Trouble Makers (12)
    26. Live Wires (1)
    27. Triple Trouble (19)
    28. Jinx Money (10)
    29. Bowery Buckaroos (8)
    30. Loose In London (30)
    31. Bowery Battalion (21)
    32. News Hounds (7)
    33. Here Come The Marines (26)
    34. Crashing Las Vegas (41)
    35. No Holds Barred (28)
    36. Smuggler's Cove (11)
    37. Jalopy (29)
    38. Spook Busters (4)
    39. Hard Boiled Mahoney (6)
    40. Mr. Hex (5)
    41. Angels' Alley (9)
    42. Looking For Danger (46)
    43. Spook Chasers (45)
    44. Hold That Hypnotist (44)
    45. Fighting Trouble (42)
    46. Hot Shots (43)
     
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  9. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    Just watched Up In Smoke last night. Another nice showcase for Huntz. I really enjoyed Byron Foulger as "Bub" and this one moved along at a pretty nice clip. I'm ranking it just a hair above the previous film, to make it my favorite of the post-Slip era thus far. Just one more to go!

    1. The Bowery Boys Meet The Monsters (34)
    2. Blonde Dynamite (17)
    3. Master Minds (16)
    4. Hold That Baby! (14)
    5. Blues Busters (20)
    6. Private Eyes (32)
    7. Paris Playboys (33)
    8. Dig That Uranium (40)
    9. Crazy Over Horses (24)
    10. Bowery Bombshell (3)
    11. Clipped Wings (31)
    12. Ghost Chasers (22)
    13. Let's Go Navy! (23)
    14. In Fast Company (2)
    15. Jungle Gents (35)
    16. Jail Busters (39)
    17. Angels In Disguise (15)
    18. Spy Chasers (38)
    19. Fighting Fools (13)
    20. Feudin' Fools (27)
    21. Bowery To Bagdad (36)
    22. Lucky Losers (18)
    23. High Society (37)
    24. Hold That Line (25)
    25. Trouble Makers (12)
    26. Live Wires (1)
    27. Triple Trouble (19)
    28. Jinx Money (10)
    29. Bowery Buckaroos (8)
    30. Loose In London (30)
    31. Bowery Battalion (21)
    32. News Hounds (7)
    33. Here Come The Marines (26)
    34. Crashing Las Vegas (41)
    35. No Holds Barred (28)
    36. Smuggler's Cove (11)
    37. Jalopy (29)
    38. Spook Busters (4)
    39. Hard Boiled Mahoney (6)
    40. Mr. Hex (5)
    41. Angels' Alley (9)
    42. Up In Smoke (47)
    43. Looking For Danger (46)
    44. Spook Chasers (45)
    45. Hold That Hypnotist (44)
    46. Fighting Trouble (42)
    47. Hot Shots (43)
     
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  10. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    Just watched In The Money. This one was just okay. It's clear that the series had run out of steam by this point and I'm glad. Things were just never the same without Louie and Slip. So, after watching all 48 films for the very first time, here's how I rank them:

    1. The Bowery Boys Meet The Monsters (34)
    2. Blonde Dynamite (17)
    3. Master Minds (16)
    4. Hold That Baby! (14)
    5. Blues Busters (20)
    6. Private Eyes (32)
    7. Paris Playboys (33)
    8. Dig That Uranium (40)
    9. Crazy Over Horses (24)
    10. Bowery Bombshell (3)
    11. Clipped Wings (31)
    12. Ghost Chasers (22)
    13. Let's Go Navy! (23)
    14. In Fast Company (2)
    15. Jungle Gents (35)
    16. Jail Busters (39)
    17. Angels In Disguise (15)
    18. Spy Chasers (38)
    19. Fighting Fools (13)
    20. Feudin' Fools (27)
    21. Bowery To Bagdad (36)
    22. Lucky Losers (18)
    23. High Society (37)
    24. Hold That Line (25)
    25. Trouble Makers (12)
    26. Live Wires (1)
    27. Triple Trouble (19)
    28. Jinx Money (10)
    29. Bowery Buckaroos (8)
    30. Loose In London (30)
    31. Bowery Battalion (21)
    32. News Hounds (7)
    33. Here Come The Marines (26)
    34. Crashing Las Vegas (41)
    35. No Holds Barred (28)
    36. Smuggler's Cove (11)
    37. Jalopy (29)
    38. Spook Busters (4)
    39. Hard Boiled Mahoney (6)
    40. Mr. Hex (5)
    41. Angels' Alley (9)
    42. Up In Smoke (47)
    43. Looking For Danger (46)
    44. Spook Chasers (45)
    45. Hold That Hypnotist (44)
    46. In The Money (48)
    47. Fighting Trouble (42)
    48. Hot Shots (43)
     
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  11. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Paul, I have really enjoyed reading your running commentary on each of these movies and your ranking them as you watched them. I haven't seen them all, but I will return often to this list as I do get around to them to see where any individual one I might watch ranked in your line-up.

    Very appreciative for this listing.
     
  12. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    Thanks, Matt! I didn't know exactly what to expect when I decided to buy all four collections. As I stated before, I never paid attention to these films when I was younger, I was more into the Stooges back then. It was a real treat to finally watch these all in chronological order. The only film that looked pretty rough was Mr. Hex and maybe that influenced my low rating for it. Who knows, I may change my opinion about some of these if I ever go back and watch them again. I really appreciate all the BB fans here that gave me additional info/insight along the way...it was greatly depreciated!
     
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  13. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Just be thankful your inaugural viewing of MR. HEX (1946) wasn't the way lousier mostly out of focus "bifocalled" print that aired on TCM in 2010! You may have enjoyed that version even less than some of the Stanley Clements' entries?

    There's still quite a lot of BB entries that I have yet to view the Warner Archive DVD versions of, that I may just start back at the beginning, although I do know from scanning them all, that the visual quality is mostly very good!

    CHEERS! :)
     
  14. Joe Davis

    Joe Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    They Made Me a Criminal (1/28/1939) - Directed by Busby Berkley (!). Written by Sid Herzig. Based on the novel and play by Bertram Millhauser and Beulah Marie Dix. Costarring John Garfield, Claude Rains, Ann Sheridan, May Robson, Gloria Dickson.

    Boxing champ Johnnie Bradfield (John Garfield) is accused of killing a man. He takes it on the lam, hiding out under the name "Jack Dorney." "Jack" eventually makes his way to a struggling ranch, where he befriends the Dead End Kids, and develops a relationship with ranch co-owner Peggy (Gloria Dickson). Johnnie decides to fight a local heavyweight fighter in the ring, and use the fight's prize money to help the ranch's business. But when a familiar detective (Claude Rains) trails Johnnie, he has decide whether he should return to the ring, or stay hidden.

    They Made Me a Criminal is notable for marking Busby Berkely's first (and only, perhaps?) non-musical film. Berkely supposedly begged Warner Bros. to try him out as a dramatic director. Warners agreed - under the condition that he base his film off of one that the studio had previously produced. The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933) had a similar story line to Criminal, but at the Hays Office's insistence, plots details in the former were toned down. In the original, protagonist Jimmy Dolan (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) does actually murder someone. In the remake, Johnnie Higgins is merely accused of murder. The actual culprit turns out to be his crooked manager. The Dead End Kids' roles were played by a younger cast, that included future mega-star Mickey Rooney, Our Gang's Farina Hoskins, and future East Side Kid Dave Durand. I hope to see Jimmy Dolan some day!

    Criminal is well-acted, for sure. Although Claude Rains never spoke fondly of his role in this film (yes, he looks sounds out of place), he plays the analytical cop well.

    The Dead End Kids are once again in the backseat, while the likes of Garfield, Rains, and Dickson drive the plot. But the Kids still act as a nice bit of comic relief. The scenes with the rich kid (Ronald Sinclair) are clearly borrowed from Dead End, but with conning taking the place of physical abuse. Criminal also marks the first appearance of a malapropism in the franchise -
    Huntz: "We came out here to get 'degenerated.'
    Bobby: "Regenerated, ya dope!"

    A good many old-time character actors pop up throughout, including Louis Jean Heydt, Barbara Pepper (Green Acres), Arthur Housman, and Sam McDaniel (Hattie's brother).

    The film seems to suffer most from having a little bit of everything, yet little time to reflect. We aren't given much of a look into Garfield's character as life throws him a curve. How does losing everything and being forced to start a new life affect him? And why doesn't he seem to care about his championship title? Seems a tad unrealistic to me.:)

    Not a bad film - certainly not for Busby Berkely's first drama - but it's another one that I feel doesn't quite reach its full potential.

    B.

     
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  15. Joe Davis

    Joe Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    If anyone hasn't picked up a copy of it yet, THE PHYNX is set to air on TCM Friday, August 19 at 4:00 AM. Set the DVRs!
     
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  16. Mr. Handley

    Mr. Handley Supporting Actor

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    I just watched Dead End for the very first time last night and was duly impressed. Lots of fun to see the Boys at the very start of their film careers and man, were they young! All of them gave terrific, natural performances. It's easy to see why they became an instant hit with audiences. I was cringing when Leo nearly got the "mark of the squealer" (although I thought he ratted out Tommy pretty quickly there). We even get to see Huntz do a little dance...I always loved it when he broke into such things. The main story was focused on the adults, but the boys easily stole the show with their shenanigans.
     
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  17. Joe Davis

    Joe Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    Code of the Streets (4/14/1939) - Directed by Harold Young. Written by Arthur T. Horman. Costarring Harry Carey, Juanita Quigley, El Brendel, Leon Ames, Paul Fix, Marc Lawrence.

    A detective's kid (Frankie Thomas) teams up with the Little Tough Guys to help clear Danny's older brother (Paul Fix) from a murder rap.

    The third, and final, Little Tough Guys movie. Much like NEWSBOYS' HOME, this one is more of a drama, with very little breaks for comedy. But it's a fine story, as we see Danny (played here by James McCallion) trying his hardest to rescue older brother Tommy from going to the chair. Danny clearly cares deeply for his brother, but his tough exterior hides any potential 'sissyness.'

    Frankie Thomas plays Bob Lewis, a middle class kid who hopes to be a detective like his father (Harry Carey). Both of the Lewis guys care about freeing Tommy just as much as Danny and his gang do. However, Danny's distrust towards outsiders (and cops) makes working alongside Bob difficult. Luckily, Danny is eventually able to put aside his differences, and he, Bob, and the Little Tough Guys are able to cleverly catch the real murderer.

    There is a subplot that is somewhat explored - Tommy warns his younger brother to get away from their home on Front Street, as it's the sort of environment that can have a bad influence on a kid. It seems as though screenwriter Arthur T. Horman was borrowing from the plot of DEAD END by introducing the idea of bad neighborhoods corrupting youths. The B story fits well enough, but it seems to take more of a backseat to the main who done it plot.

    El Brendel is on board to provide us with a tiny bit of comic relief, but I suppose that depends on whether or not you find El Brendel funny. He had talent, for sure, but was definitely a comic of his time - more specifically, a dialect comic. Brendel's "Svedish" shtick doesn't seem to play too well for modern viewers. El - or perhaps Hollywood - seemed to struggle in finding a character to work his dialect into. However, I think he's quite enjoyable in his few scenes here.

    Juanita Quigley, then an in-demand child actress, gets high billing, but only has one scene. Around this same time, she was appearing in another Universal feature - THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR, starring Hugh Herbert, and future Bowery Boy Benny Bartlett.






    Hell's Kitchen (7/8/1939) - Directed by E.A. Dupont and Lewis Seiler. Written by Crane Wilbur and Fred Niblo, Jr. Costarring Margaret Lindsay, Ronald Reagan, Stanley Fields, Grant Mitchell.

    A paroled convict (Stanley Fields) takes over a boys' reform school, and hopes to improve it. But his efforts don't sit well with the school's crooked warden Krispan (Grant Mitchell), who hopes to get the convict arrested again.

    This is yet another remake of THE MAYOR OF HELL. As with CRIME SCHOOL, it's a good remake, but not quite as good as its predecessor. In previous Dead End Kids movies, the Kids were the comic relief in dramatic stories starring other actors. Here, it's sort of the other way around. Stanley Fields is really the main source of comedy, of the Kids take on more serious roles. Fields is quite enjoyable as the ex-convict with the heart of gold. Ronald Reagan plays his straight man, but admittedly feels underused.

    As in THE MAYOR OF HELL, the boys in HELL'S KITCHEN eventually go 'Lord of the Flies' on the warden for killing another inmate (SPOILER: It's Bobby Jordan's character). But unlike the warden in the earlier film, Krispan winds up serving a jail sentence, rather than losing his life. I'm willing to bet that this was a Hay's Code suggestion, but either way, he gets a much-deserved comeuppance.

    Frankie Burke, while technically not a Dead End Kid, is clearly one of the gang in this film.

    HELL'S KITCHEN is available on DVD from the Warner Archive, alongside ON DRESS PARADE.

    http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/142194/Hell-s-Kitchen-Original-Trailer-.html
     
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  18. Joe Davis

    Joe Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    Teaser for the new Bowery documentary... looks like it's coming out soon!

     
  19. Tony Bensley

    Tony Bensley Producer

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    Anthony
    I admit I was ready to pounce, and say yeah, yeah, but what about the 8 minute segment from almost 2 years ago?

    However, having seen the entire teaser, complete with the "Coming Soon" and perhaps more importantly, the 2016 copyright information, it indeed appears the long wait for the Bowery Boys documentary might be nearing a "Dead End"! :D

    Me thinks the ole Yuletide Wish List is beginnin' to grow excruciatin'ly! Incidentally, Jamie Farr still looks really good!

    Thanks for posting this, Joe!

    CHEERS! :)
     
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  20. Karrenola

    Karrenola Stunt Coordinator

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    Well Joe that was mighty unanimous of yous! I finally got to see Little Tough Guys in Society.

    Sheesh though. What a mess just to satisfy a trend, huh. But a very interesting look at attitudes toward and treatment of women a year before war breaks out in Europe, and a year before the New York Expo that publicized television.

    It was GREAT seeing Billy Benedict and David Gorcey with good in your face parts though. Too bad the studio didn't have more faith in Billy as a leader, he could've easily been convincing. Better writing and starring Billy would've probably lessened the focus on Halop, Hall and Leo Gorcey. :rolleyes:
     
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