26 August 2007 | bkoganbing
Some Arcane Laws Put To Good Use
Although Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan are the romantic leads here, the film really belongs to the Dead End Kids. Angels Wash Their Faces is NOT a sequel to Angels With Dirty Faces, it doesn't come close to that classic. Still it's an enjoyable film.
The Dead End Kids are joined by Frankie Thomas and Bonita Granville who Warner Brothers had been using in their Nancy Drew series. In those films Granville was the lead and poor Thomas was her earnest boyfriend who she got involved in all of her cases. Here Thomas is the lead and Granville his romantic interest and would you believe, Leo Gorcey's sister. That's nothing, in one of the Bowery Boy features Gorcey got a young Ava Gardner as his sister.
There's been a rash of fires in the neighborhood, somebody's got a nice little arson racket going. The crooks try to pin this on Frankie Thomas who's a new kid moved into the neighborhood with his sister Ann Sheridan. Ronald Reagan as the Assistant District Attorney reluctantly prosecutes.
What happens then is Dead End Kid leader Billy Halop gets himself elected boy mayor of the city and uses the power of office quite creatively to help Thomas and find the arsonists. Some arcane laws which are still on the books turn out to be of real value.
Best in the cast is Frankie Thomas who's quite appealing as the kid in trouble and Bernard Nedell as the slick crook who gets quite a comeuppance from the Dead End Kids.
Fans of the Kids will like this one.