24 August 2007 | wes-connors
The Dead End Kids Rise Again
The Dean End Kids are fine - Led by Billy Halop, the "kids" perform well. In fact, they are better in this "juvenile delinquent" genre than many others. Mr. Halop is strong, with Leo Gorcey, Gabe Dell and the others; they work well as a team. It looks like Bobby Jordan is directed (Lewis Seiler) to overplay, but he is endearing.
The "Adults" are not so good. Stanley Fields is okay, but his performance doesn't belong in this movie. Ronald Reagan isn't very good, with a performance that may not belong in any movie. Margaret Lindsay is pretty. Some of the performances are inappropriately comic.
There is a reference in this film to MGM's "Boys Town" (1938), which invites comparisons. It's direct enough for anyone who as seen the "Boys Town" films. The character played by Ms. Lindsay wants to use the techniques successfully employed by Spencer Tracy's character on the "Dead End" kids of "Hell's Kitchen".
The studio took the cheaper route with the "Dead End" series, obviously. The film is not technically competent. For example, a great "West Side Story"-type moment is ruined when the chanting on the soundtrack doesn't match the marching Dead Enders. Actors don't know how to play their parts - or don't play their parts at all. Still, the Dead End Kids make it enjoyable. Their terrific "Trial" for Headmaster Grant Mitchell is a most complete summation of the American justice system. Through all the bad editing, you'll get some suspense and action, too - including a "foul" hockey game, and a fire.
***** Hell's Kitchen (7/3/39) Lewis Seiler ~ Billy Halop, Bobby Jordan, Leo Gorcey