Dead End (1937) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead End (1937)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Adapted by Lillian Hellman from Sidney Kingsley's Broadway play, Dead End concerns itself with several denizens of New York's East River district. Here the elite and the slum-dwellers rub shoulders due to the close proximity of the riverfront tenements with the East Side luxury hotels. Slum girl Drina Gordon (Sylvia Sidney) tries to prevent her younger brother Tommy (Billy Halop) from wasting his life as a member of the local street gang. Tommy and the other kids idolize Baby Face Martin (Humphrey Bogart), a onetime East- sider who has hit the "big time" as a notorious gangster. Dodging the cops, Martin makes a sentimental journey to the neighborhood to visit his mother (Marjorie Main) and his old girlfriend Francie (Clare Trevor). But Martin's mother coldly tells him to get lost, while Francie reveals herself to be a consumptive prostitute. Despite his depressed state, Martin is still admired by the local kids; this displeases sign painter Dave Connell (Joel McCrea), who hopes to escape the slums via his romance with wealthy Kay Burton (Wendy Barrie). Attempting to kidnap a rich boy who'd earlier been beaten up by the street kids, Martin is prevented from making the snatch by Dave, who shoots Martin down. Receiving a large reward, Dave decides to give the money to Drina so that she can afford a lawyer to defend her brother Tommy, who has wrongfully been accused of masterminding the beating of the rich kid. His outlook on life altered by this unselfish act, Dave gives up his mercenary romance with Kay Burton, choosing instead the poverty-stricken Drina. The film introduces the Dead End Kids--Billy Halop, Leo Gorcey, Gabe Dell, Huntz Hall, Bernard Punsley and Bobby Jordan--all of whom were veterans of the Broadway version of Dead End and would be metamorphosed into the East Side Kids and The Bowery Boys.

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Joel McCrea
as Dave Connell
Humphrey Bogart
as Baby Face Martin
Wendy Barrie
as Kay Burton
Billy Halop
as Tommy Gordon
Marjorie Main
as Mrs. Martin
Charles Peck
as Philip Griswold
Minor Watson
as Mr. Griswold
James Burke
as Mulligan
Ward Bond
as Doorman
Elisabeth Risdon
as Mrs. Connell
Esther Dale
as Mrs. Fenner
Marcelle Corday
as Governess
Elizabeth Risdon
as Mrs. Connell
Jerry Cooper
as Milty's brother
Kath Ann Lujan
as Milty's Sister
Bud Geary
as Kay's chauffeur
Tom Ricketts
as Old man
Mickey Martin
as Tough boy
Wesley Girard
as Tough Boy
Earl Askam
as Griswold chauffeur
Gilbert Clayton
as Man with Weak Voice
Frank Shields
as Well Dressed Couple
Lucille Browne
as Well Dressed Couple
Charlotte Treadway
as Woman with Poodle
Maude Lambert
as Woman with Poodle
Esther Howard
as Woman with coarse voice
Thomas E. Jackson
as Police Lieutenant
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Critic Reviews for Dead End

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (1)

The cast is perfect; Allen Jenkins surprisingly strong as Humphrey Bogart's shadow.

April 17, 2020 | Full Review…

Highly recommended, but not for children.

October 7, 2019 | Full Review…

Couldn't be more outdated.

March 18, 2015 | Rating: C | Full Review…

William Wyler's screen version of this juvenile delinquency drama features the Dead End Kids and boasts excellent performances from Bogart as a criminal before he became star and Joel McCrea as the decent guy.

March 6, 2008 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

...worth a look, especially for fans of Bogart...

March 12, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

It's still a compelling film, and it features a novelty: Humphrey Bogart's name isn't at the top of the credits.

January 15, 2005 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Dead End

Dated but excellently acted drama.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

I recently picked up a copy of Dead End from a market stall and was pleased I did. A gangster, "Baby Face" returns to New York's Lower East Side, where he grew up. He goes to visit his mum and ex girlfriend, but they are not pleased to see him. He then gets involved in a shootout which claims his life. We also see what the Dead End Kids get up to and they course plenty of trouble. Two of the residents also fall in love with each other. This movie gives you an idea on what life was like in this period in New York's poorer Lower East Side and the rich peoples' apartments are overlooking this slum area. The cast includes an excellent performance from Humphrey Bogart as Baby Face and is joined by Sylvia Sydney (Sabotage), western star Joel McCrea, Claire Trevor (Key Largo, which also starred Bogie), Wendy Barrie and a brief appearance by Ward Bond. Dead End is worth watching, a good way to spend 90 minutes one afternoon or evening.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer


pretty melodramatic. supporting characters are much better than the main story here. ma kettle is one cold hearted bitch, the punk kids are fun and an extra half star for claire trevor :)

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Dead End Quotes

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