East Side Kids

East Side Kids

Director: Robert F. Hill

Cast: Leon Ames, Dennis Moore, Joyce Bryant

     
 

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Bob Hill's East Side Kids (1940) was the odd opening entry in the long-running Monogram Pictures series -- odd mostly because it wasn't really part of the series, merely introducing the concept of a Lower East Side gang of would-be hooligans and their popular name. The movie looks fairly decent, not too much worse than it did on television in the 1960s, a…  See more details below

Overview

Bob Hill's East Side Kids (1940) was the odd opening entry in the long-running Monogram Pictures series -- odd mostly because it wasn't really part of the series, merely introducing the concept of a Lower East Side gang of would-be hooligans and their popular name. The movie looks fairly decent, not too much worse than it did on television in the 1960s, a little softer and darker, but not so it's unwatchable. And given the fact that the Monogram Pictures library is so neglected by whoever owns it that it's unlikely ever to turn up in an authorized edition, there are worse quality releases for which we might settle. The detail is sometimes lacking and some darker shots are fuzzy, but everything is viewable and the sound is far more consistent, a bit cleaner than the image and nice and loud. There are a couple of rough spots in the print -- it's been 25 years since this reviewer has seen the movie, but I seem to remember the scene in which Alden Chase's detective is shot by Dennis Moore being a little more graphic, in terms of the officer collapsing with the gunshot. Otherwise, this is a perfectly fine, budget-priced representation of the movie that may well have to suffice -- what's more, the movie is exciting enough in its own terms so that it may well appeal to viewers beyond the fans of the Dead End Kids/East Side Kids/Bowery Boys (who may well be the least interested of potential viewers, since none of the core players are present, just second-string cast members such as Hally Chester and Donald Haines, along with future series player Dave O'Brien). The 62-minute feature is broken down adequately by the standard Alpha Video six chapters, and the disc opens on a simple single-layer menu.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
A B-movie directed with all the briskness that the genre demanded, East Side Kids was vastly entertaining and diverting, a low-budget successor to such well-intentioned major studio dramas as Dead End and Angels With Dirty Faces. East Side Kids is also a very dark film, however, when compared with the East Side Kids series of movies that followed it -- this was the only movie in the series (and essentially wasn't part of the series, but spawned it) in which a member of the gang is killed. Producer Sam Katzman recognized that he'd struck gold with the movie, but did some retooling of the concept. He signed up the available principal members of the original Dead End Kids (all except for Billy Halop and Bernard Punsley) rather than the secondary players such as Hally Chester who'd starred in East Side Kids, and put together a less realistic but more memorable and charismatic, as well as more humorous, gang led by Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall. Dave "Tex" O'Brien, seen here as unjustly convicted felon Knuckles Dolan, was kept and shown as the reformed, upright mentor to the group in the first few movies that followed, but the role of his brother Danny was recast with Bobby Jordan. The character of Algernon Wilkes, introduced here as the only well-spoken, serious student among the gang, was also kept but also altered slightly, so that he was a teenager from a wealthy background in future installments. Katzman maintained the Lower East Side New York setting and made it even more vivid, despite the low budgets involved, and the result of all of his work, and the contributions of several writers and directors who became very important down the road including Phil Karlson and Carl Foreman, was one of the longest-running film series in the history of movies, so successful that it spawned an even longer-running successor series, The Bowery Boys.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/24/2003
UPC:
0089218419095
Original Release:
1940
Rating:
NR
Source:
Alpha Video
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:02:00
Sales rank:
79,190

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Leon Ames Pat O'Day
Dennis Moore Mileaway
Joyce Bryant Molly
Vince Barnett Whisper
Dave "Tex" O'Brien Knuckles
Richard Adams Schmidt
Maxine Leslie May
Sam Edwards Pete
Robert Fiske Cornwall
Jack Edwards Algemon Wilkes
James Farley Capt. Moran
Alden Chase Joe
Fred Hoose Mr. Wilkes
Eddie Brian Mike
Frank Yaconelli Tony
Hally Chester East Side Kid
Harris Berger Danny Dolan
Frankie Burke East Side Kid
Donald Haines East Side Kid
David Durand The East Side Kids
East Side Kids Actor

Technical Credits
Robert F. Hill Director
Sam Katzman Producer
Johnny Lange Score Composer
William Lively Screenwriter
Robert Lively Screenwriter
Lew Porter Score Composer
Art Reed Cinematographer
Earl Turner Editor

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [9:11]
2. Chapter 2 [10:46]
3. Chapter 3 [8:44]
4. Chapter 4 [11:10]
5. Chapter 5 [10:41]
6. Chapter 6 [10:51]

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