Monday, March 12, 2012

The Mayor of Hell's Kitchen goes to Crime School

My 2 favorite actors are Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney in that order.  I have seen 28 out of 64 of the pictures James Cagney has been in.  Of Bogart I have seen 45 out of 80 and own 27 of them.  However, Bogie was in Hollywood for 10 years before he became the #1 leading man in Casablanca so several of his movies are bit parts.  I am hopeful that one day I will have seen all of his pictures. 

Recently, I was watching Hells Kitchen (1939) Warner Brothers picture with The Dead End Kids.  The Dead End Kids were a group of young actors from New York who played young troublemakers.  The dead end kids were always getting into fights and causing ruckus both on and off screen.  They remind me a lot of the Newsies.  They were in a total of 89 films and even got a Hollywood star for their contribution to Motion Pictures. Well, as I was watching this Hells Kitchen with Ronald Reagan I was struck with deja vu.  But not just deja vu once but twice.  This was exactly like Crime School starring Humphrey Bogart which was exactly like The Mayor of Hell starring James Cagney.  

All three films contain corrupt sadistic superintendents. Both Crime School and Hell’s Kitchen have scenes where the juvenile inmates establish a self-governing system. In Crime School, Bogart, a deputy commissioner, takes over the corrupt reformatory, as does lawyer Reagan in Hell’s Kitchen.  In The Mayor of Hell, a young James Cagney plays as a reformed gangster who takes over a juvenile reformatory attempting to fix a corrupt system.

 Of course, all 3 films have caring, beautiful leading women.  In the Mayor of Hell it is Madge Evans, while it's Margaret Lindsay who takes care of the boys in Hell's KitchenCrime School has Gale Page as the older sister of one of the boys.  Mayor of Hell was made in 1933 which was in the Pre-Code days so there was a bit more leg and sensual situations than in the later films.  None of these films are particularly great but good to see if you are a fan of any of the actors or the Dead End Kids.

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