Dead End - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead End Reviews

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½ November 12, 2010
Had a great style of story telling and looks beautiful, but some of the lines just make the power of the film dull out. Bogie did great, as usual. When he sees the woman he wants to marry we feel the passion and the need to have her, but the moment he finds out she is a prostitute is shattering. It was brilliantly placed right after he was disowned by his mother. The parallel storytelling with him and the kids was great. I just feel like they should have paid more attention to the emotions behind them rather than look at them so objectively. The scene where they beat up the rich kid should have been sad, but I was surprisingly unmoved. The story of the boy's sister was great, but I feel like her relationship with the architect was random. He was a great character to have to show the connection to Bogie's childhood, but I don't think they went the right way with him. The movie is shot by the same person who did Citizen Kane. The lighting is beautiful, but the camera placement is pretty unspectacular. He needed Welles to show him how to break the rules and make something fully beautiful. Overall I think that Dead End was ok, but there were definitely some things that needed to be changed to make it great.
½ August 30, 2010
immensely enjoyable, charming 30s flick. the street kids were an adorable bunch, 'specially angel.
½ April 11, 2010
A great film about the class struggle between the rich and the poor in New York. William Wyler really has never let me down and this is another excellent film by him. Humphrey Bogart plays Baby Face Martin a major gangster whom returns to his old stomping grounds to find that his mother and ex-flame want nothing to do with him. Its a great story, well executed, shot and directed.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2010
Dated but excellently acted drama.
March 6, 2010
A stage play translated to the cinema. Nicely done with some very fine performances in a rather melodramatic and somewhat preachy tale. The origin of the Dead End Kids (a.k.a. Bowery Boys) before they did comedy. An early gangster role for Bogart in which he is (predictably) quite good.
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
½ December 2, 2009
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 :)
½ October 19, 2009
An interesting film which attempts to grapple with the depths of despair and desperation that the poor must continuously battle juxtapozed with the conflicts and views that the very wealthy have towards them and their place in society. This film was also a bit of a landmark as it basically calls out the reform school and prison systems and squarely blames their inadequate systems on creating the modern hardened criminal played by Humphrey Bogart. It might not seem like a big deal these days but back then it caused quite a stir.

This film was also a landmark in that it introduced the gang of smart aleck gang of kids known in this film as the Dead End Kids and whom would later go on to make literally dozens of films in various incarnations probably the most famous of which is the Bowery Boys (which is where I first encountered them). Even with this knowledge I was fairly taken aback by the overall dark and depressing nature of the film as it draws a very bleak picture of the poor and their hopes and dreams or lack thereof.

I really enjoyed this picture although I do think some of its points and issues are a tad dated so its not quite as powerful as it was during its debut. With the properties of the very rich literally towering right over the ramshackle tenements of the poor it painted a very real line between the poor and the rich. A large and very clean door opens right into the tenement and acts as a beacon of hope for some, a sign of safety for some, and a temptation of violence for others.

In a particularly telling moment the new love of Joel McCrea (for whom he has recently fallen at the disappointment of an old flame) attempts to visit him in his worn down apartment complex. Leaving the safety of her expensive dwelling she starts to make her way up the stairs and bit by bit she is worn down by the filth and degradation until she finally breaks down and flees the filthy abode in utter fear and immediately runs through the clean doorway to take up safety in the comfort of the rich.

You see, she used to be poor just like them and although her love for Joel is strong, she can't overcome her fear of being that desperately poor again and so she must put aside her feelings and stay with her rich fiance'. Unknown to her Joel as seen her approach and escape and immediately realizes that it's just not to be.

The film features an interlocking array of characters all of whom dramatically affect the fate of one another with their actions bit by bit throughout the film. It all fits together very well and is fairly unflinching in its presentation of these characters. Bogart's gangster character comes back hoping to reconnect with his mother and old flame but the reunion of both is the worst possible outcome. Drina tries to save her brother from becoming more and more of a hardened street thug but she is almost helpless to watch as he becomes caught up in the nightmare of their situation.

In the end it's a very satisfying movie but then I felt something was a little off. For such a rough movie it somewhat tries to back-peddle a bit and soften the blow of the inevitable conflicts and the two main characters are given a somewhat hopeful outlook. Then I saw those giant words plastered on the ending board "Approved by the Movie Board Association" and I realised the date of the film and it all became clear.

Even though it's is a fairly dark film and I admired at how much of a statement they were allowed to make, I realized the Hays Code was in full effect at this point and I had to laugh. Apparently the writers did soften up the remaining main characters a little bit from the stage production and created a more hopeful outlook for them in the end.

Ah well...

Still, I did really enjoy this film and that way in which it immerses the viewer right into the run down Dead End neighborhood and made you live there was really magical and very well done.
½ October 1, 2009
filmed entirely on one city block, this 30s black and white melodrama features Bogart in a typical lovable mobster role. the lives of rich and uppity city folk mingle with those of hard working young men and women, and the kids of the block, who are sure to follow in the footsteps of Bogart's character simply based on their condition. reminiscent of a streetcar named desire in terms of the cinematography, character interactions and ambiance (probably because both movies are based on plays).
August 13, 2009
Not as good as it should be.
July 14, 2009
Fairly standard 1930s period piece about a run-down neighbourhood and its deadbeat or hard-done-by inhabitants. It marks the first screen appearance of The Dead End Kids, who went on to feature in numerous films and were probably best in Angels With Dirty Faces, and contains an interesting performance from Humphrey Bogart as Baby Face Martin, a gangster who returns to his old stomping ground to see his mother and ex-girlfriend.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2009
Very enjoyable film about the Lower East Side in the 30's.The rich are starting to move into the slums in high rise apartments,and a change is staring to take place.The film is about Bogie,a wanted Gangster, going back to his old neighborhood to see is Mom and a old girlfriend.Bogart has had surgery and no one recognizes him except for a old childhood friend(McCrea) who don't see eye to eye. The movie is also about The Dead End Kids, a gang of toughs who keep getting into trouble,but their ways are becoming out of date. Everyone is great in this and the subject matter is harsh and very adult oriented. This is based on a stage play and it must have been great to see back in the day.The only problem I had was I wanted a more McCrea and Bogie and a little less Dead End Kids. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed this and it goes to show you what a great actor Bogart was.The scene between him and Claire Trevor(his old squeeze) and Marjorie Main (his mother) is extremely powerful and really holds up. William Wyler in the 30's couldn't be stopped and this is another great one from him.
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2009
Depression Era Melodrame is boring at best. Bogart, when he's actually on the screen, chews the scenery a bit.
March 18, 2009
Just couldn't get into it. I didn't care for the story, and I didn't find any of the characters likable or all that interesting.
March 2, 2009
A super surprise treat on New York‚??s East River in the 1930s (shot on an unrecognizable corner perhaps located near today‚??s Sutton Place), where a grand new apartment building has brought the hoi polloi in direct contact with the tenement slums. The local kids (the real stars of the movie, who give it genuine vibrancy with their loudmouth clowning and physical antics, fighting and throwing each other into the river) watch the drama unfold: an old neighborhood boy (golden Joel McCrea) who took the straight route versus big-time gangster Babyface Martin (Humphrey Bogart), who‚??s come back to see his mother (who slaps him across the face and says she hopes he‚??ll die) and his old girlfriend (who now makes ends meet as a prostitute).

Refusing to leave empty-handed, Babyface hatches a plot to kidnap the same rich kid the local kids have just beat up, but the good guy senses that something‚??s up, now that he‚??s no longer big-eyed over the rich girl who had been leading him on (he sees her disgust at the roaches in his apartment building). After a great chase scene in the shadowy hallways and across the dark rooftops and fire-escapes of the slum, our hero shoots Babyface dead, winning rights to a $4800 reward. His rich girl comes back, thrilled that they can live on the money in style for a year (and after that? Who cares, at least she‚??ll get one year of happiness, she says), but he sends her away, at last seeing the beautiful but poor local girl as his honest match, and pledging his reward money to hire a lawyer to keep her little brother (one of the local kids, under arrest for the most innocuous knifing you‚??ve ever seen) out of reform school.

Bogart‚??s heart-broken tough-guy is fantastic, but the movie belongs to the rag-tag kids, who make their own rules and seem to be having a pretty good time, despite their lack of future. Stripped to their shorts for swimming in the filthy river, their narrow chests are big with bombast as they do mocking impressions of the doorman and the rich men and women coming in and out of the fancy-pants building, plunked right in front of their hangout. I‚??d love to see this movie remade today, in gentrifying Harlem or East Williamsburg, though I suppose I‚??m the bad guy now.
½ January 12, 2009
Otro de esos papeles secundarios que crearon la carrera de Humphrey Bogart, y en esta ocasion como un gangster que regresa al barrio pobre en que naci√≥ para darse cuenta de que en el fondo ya no pertenece a ningun sitio. Especialmente desarrollado su papel para tratarse de un secundario, ya que incluso cuenta con bastante m√°s trasfondo e historia que los supuestos protagonistas Sylvia Sidney (demasiado mu√Īeca para ser creible) y Joel McCrea (que funciona bastante mejor como el hombre honesto que quiere seguir manteniendo su personalidad y forma de ser a pesar de lo que le rodea).

Basada en una obra de teatro, la verdad es que la pel√≠cula funciona gracias a la m√°gnifica direcci√≥n de William Wyler y el estupendo dise√Īo de produccion, que consigue crear un barrio que le da amplitud y horizonte a la obra de teatro, consiguiendo que no parezca tratarse de un √ļnico escenario. Wyler consigue aprovechar todas las posibilidades que tiene para darle vida a la historia. Haciendo que los personajes se muevan por todas las zonas posibles del barrio, incluso por diferentes niveles consiguiendo crear una realidad (de estudio eso si) mucho m√°s amplia que la que le dar√≠a la obra de teatro.

Por lo dem√°s, excepto la relacion de Humphrey Bogart con su barrio... las dem√°s historias (los chicos del barrio, Sylvia Sidney y Joel McCrea) se encuentran cargadas de una moralina excesivamente directa y demasiado de "cuento para ni√Īos", como para conseguir ser mucho m√°s que eso... una pura moralina de "el mal paga"... sin embargo, la interpretaci√≥n de Bogart y la manera en que vemos su decepci√≥n reflejada en el rostro vale por muchas historias.
November 1, 2008
This is a good movie

You can view it on Flixster
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2008
Nice bit of New York life from the 30's. Bogart gives a powerhouse performance, and the kids do good work.
September 26, 2008
The kid's acting style gets really irritating at first and it takes time to get used to it. But once I did I saw a fantastic film. Early Bogart when his name wasn't even the marque name. William Wyler directs and he would go off and do bigger and better things, but this was one of his better films. Pretty gruesome and risque for it's time too.
½ August 31, 2008
Enjoyable. Bogart superb as usual.
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