7.4/10
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58 user 41 critic

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:

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

The play opened in New York City, New York, USA on 28 October 1935 and closed 12 June 1937 after 687 performances. Those originating their movie performances in the play were Gabriel Dell, Huntz Hall, Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Marjorie Main and Bernard Punsly. Also in the cast were Leo Gorcey and David Gorcey (playing "Second Avenue Boys"), Joe Downing (Babyface Martin), Dan Duryea, Martin Gabel and Sidney Lumet. See more »

Quotes

Hugh 'Baby Face': [Hugh doesn't give a street kid money when the kid doesn't deliver] Nothing for nothing, kid.
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 The Majestic (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

The Prisoner's Song
(1924) (uncredited)
Written by Guy Massey
Played on a kazoo by Bobby Jordan and sung by the boys
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

one of the best films you never heard of
30 August 2004 | by spielbratSee all my reviews

i'm a huge Bogey fan, so naturally i'll watch anything with his name in the credits. however, i was not prepared for "dead end." this is one of the most brilliant films i've ever seen and i can't understand why the eberts and roepers and maltins never talk about this one. it begins as a familiar story, rich vs. poor along the east river. a gang of kids hang around outside the ritzy, new apartments in the neighborhood. tommy, it's leader and his "friends" notice a boy who has been earning pocket money as a babysitter. when tommy steals his money, a fight breaks out. off in the distance, two men in silk suits watch the fight. tommy's sister drina breaks up the fight. drina is a working class woman on strike, trying to earn the money she deserves. Dave is her on-again, off-again love interest who has done everything in the book to try to rise out of poverty, but still can't get ahead. Dave has been seeing Kay, a young woman torn between a future with a man she thinks she may love (Dave) and the comforts of wealth. we find out the two men in silk suits are gangsters, one being the famous killer, baby face martin, who has returned to his home to see his mother and old girlfriend. he is rejected by his mother, who is disgusted by his profession and track record and his girlfriend, who has become a common prostitute. their are a million intertwining story lines that add up to one incredible climax, but essentially this film is about the cycle of poverty and class issues. the performances are terrific. Sylvia Sidney (not a big name today, but a damn good actress) and Joel mccrea are perfection as the films heroes. Bogart is unforgettable. this is one of the dozens of gangsters he played, but i would rate this performances as high as duke manatee in petrified forest. he's tough and street smart, but with each disappointment we see evidence of his emotions leaking out. the gang of kids remind me of the jets in west side story- they don't like anyone, not even each other half the time. look for Marjorie main (ma kettle before she was ma kettle!) in a touching, but heartbreaking scene as Bogey's frail, aging mother and Claire Trevor (another fine, forgotten actress) as Bogey's sweetheart turned greedy streetwalker. the best thing about this film is they way each character believes he or she can overcome the way of life he or she seems fated to live with. each character tries desperately and fails. this is the way real people are. there's no Hollywood, sugar-coatedness about any of it. no over-dramatic music or made-for-the-previews lines. it's grossly realistic. this film would be on my top 50 list, maybe even my top 25. it's that good.


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