This is one of famous Warner Brothers Dead End Kids films, made in 1938-39. The date of "Angels" is 1938. Again, the boy actor, Billy Halop, is featured as a boy called "Soapy." The plot concerns two boyhood friends, Rocky Sullivan (played by James Cagney) and Jerry Connally (played by Pat O'Brien). The two friends had a criminal childhood, but Rocky has grown up to be a notorious gangster while his friend Jerry has gone straight and become a priest. The paths of two boyhood friends diverge. A parish priest tries to discourage the Dead End Kids from idolizing a thug who returns to the old neighborhood. If the film is the one I think, it starts out with kids beating up a rich boy dressed in a dapper long pants suit.
This is one of famous Warner Brothers Dead End Kids films, made in 1938-39. The date of "Angels" is 1938.
Again, the boy actor, Billy Halop, is featured as a boy called "Soapy." The plot concerns two boyhood friends, Rocky Sullivan (played by James Cagney) and Jerry Connally (played by Pat O'Brien). The Dead End Kids were also called the East Side Kids and Bowary Boys. There were five main characters.
Leo Gorcey (1917-69) was the leader of the Dead End Kids. He continued his foilm career into the 1960s.
Huntz (Henry) Hall (1919-99) played Sach he also persued a film career into the 90s.
Billy Halop (1920-76) only appeared in two of the Dead End Kids filns, "Dead End" (1937) and "Angels with Dirty Faces" (1938). He later served in the US Army as a Sergeant stationed in the Special Servicesduring World War II. He was discharged in 1946 and returned to Hollywood. He was in "Dangerous Years" with Marilyn Monroe. He had difficuklty finding future roles, but did appear in radio and television.
Bobby Jordan (1923-65) wasone of the youger Dead End Kids. He worked in Hollywood through the 1950s.
Bernard Punsly (1923-2004) was the last srvuiving Dead End Kid. He appeared in "Angels with Dirty Faces" and "Hell's Kitchen." Unlike the other boys, he gave up acting after the series and became a doctor.
The two friends had a criminal childhood, but Rocky has grown up to be a notorious gangster while his friend Jerry has gone straight and become a priest. The paths of two boyhood friends diverge. A parish priest tries to discourage the Dead End Kids from idolizing a thug who returns to the old neighborhood. The priest runs a home for wayward boys and is engaged in trying to keep them from being corrupted by crime, but the boys tend to idolize the gangster, Rocky, whom the priest, Fr. Connally, is trying to keep from influencing the boys. A corrupt lawyer, played by Humphrey Bogart, becomes involved in the action, and, as a result, the gangster, Rocky, kills some men who
are plotting to kill his childhood friend, Fr. Connally. For this, Rocky is convicted and sent to Death Row. Fr. Connally visits his old friend, Rocky, in prison before his execution, trying to persuade him
to pretend to die as a coward so that the boys will not regard the gangster as a hero. Rocky at first refuses the request, proposing to die as a "tough guy," but then at the last minute he has to be dragged
to the electric chair as an apparent coward. We never know whether Rocky only pretends to be afraid of death to please Fr. Connally or whether is is, at bottom, a genuine coward. The boys hear about what happened, decide that their former hero was indeed "a rotten sniveling coward" and go off to Mass with Fr. Conally.
If the film is the one I think, it starts out with kids beating up a rich boy dressed in a dapper long pants suit.
America was founded as a Protestant country. Despite the efforts of several denominations to set up establoshed churches, there were too many Protestant denominations for any one to dominate. And with independence, the principle of religious freedom was firmly entrenched in the Cnstitution (Bill of Rights). The first Catholics to arrive in large numbers were the Irish (1840s). More Catholics began arriving in large numbers during the 1880s. These were Italians and other southern Europeans. Unlike many other immigrants who settled in rural areas, the Catholic immigrants mostly settled in the large indistrial cities. Many stayed in New York, but every major industrial city had Catholic immigrants who lived in the tenaments and slums of the inner city. I am not entirely sure how this was handled in the silent film era of the 1920s. Anti-Catholcism and the Ku Klux Klan was still very strong in the 20s. Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s addressed the role of the Catholic Church in a very positive light. We see quite a number of films about the Catholic Church in the inner city and the priests and nuns who worked with immigrant and orphaned children. situation in quite a number of films. Perhaps the most memorable was the "Bells of St. Mary's". Anothe presentatin was the various incarnations of the Dead End Kids.
The Dead End and related productions are probably the best known films based on the subject of juvenile delenquency. The films were based on a play written Sidney Kingsley (1934). The play "Dead End" was produced on Broadway (1935-37). For the production the producers chose kids off the streets of New York rather than actors. Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn and famed director William Wyler saw the play decided to make a film version (1937). Apprently the Hollywood kids under contract were to clean cut for the role. So Goldwyn brought six of the boys (Halop, Jordan, Hall, Punsly, Dell, and Leo Gorcey) to Hollywood and made the only United Artist's film in the series--"Dead End" (1937). The boys apparently en riot during the shoot, running a truck into a sound studio. The film was a hit, but Goldwyn washed his hands of the boys and sold the film rights to Warner Brothers. As a result the other five films were Warner Brother films. And after the main films there were other reincarnations into te 1950s: The East Side Kids, The Little Tough Guys, and The Bowery Boys. 1958.
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Am-Az film alphabetical listings page]
[Return to the Main Juvenile delinquent films page]
[Return to the Main choir film page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Theatricals]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [Essays] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]