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Angels Wash Their Faces
     

The Angels Wash Their Faces

Director: Ray Enright

Cast: Ann Sheridan, Billy Halop, Ronald Wilson Reagan

 
Though not a sequel to Angels with Dirty Faces, this Warner Bros. programmer does star the Dead End Kids-or, more specifically, Billy Halop, Leo Gorcey, Bobby Jordan, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, and Bernard Punsley. Fresh out of reform school, Gabe Ryan (Frankie Thomas) promises his sister Joy (Ann Sheridan) that he'll go straight, and promptly joins the Beale

Overview

Though not a sequel to Angels with Dirty Faces, this Warner Bros. programmer does star the Dead End Kids-or, more specifically, Billy Halop, Leo Gorcey, Bobby Jordan, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, and Bernard Punsley. Fresh out of reform school, Gabe Ryan (Frankie Thomas) promises his sister Joy (Ann Sheridan) that he'll go straight, and promptly joins the Beale Street Termites (the Dead Enders), a tough but basically good-hearted street gang. Local mobster William Kroner (Bernard Nedell), seeking out a fall guy for a series of arsons, frames Gabe for a fire in which helpless invalid Sleepy (Punsly) dies. With the help of the other Termites, crusading DA Pat Remson (Ronald Reagan) tries to prove Gabe's innocence, using surprisingly high-handed tactics to get results: arresting Kroner on a misdemeanor, he turns the crook over to the kids, who force a confession out of the terrified crook. In this and several other instances in the film, the gang's rowdy behavior is "purified" because the end justifies the means.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Angels Wash Their Faces, a middling "Dead End Kids" flic, is a slightly above-average movie, though decidedly a lesser film than Angels with Dirty Faces. (Despite the title -- an obvious attempt to cash in on that earlier, much better film -- Faces is not a sequel.) The plot is a bunch of hooey, providing for plenty of melodrama spread over with big dollops of low comedy, and the last portion is particularly unbelievable. It also teaches a strange moral lesson, namely that it's perfectly okay to use illegal means as long as you're on the side of the angels. Of course, no once watches something like Faces for the moral lesson. They watch it to see what Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall and the boys are up to this time. Being an early one of their films, Gorcey and Hall don't dominate the way they will in later films. As a matter of fact, the real protagonist isn't one of the "Kids" at all. It's Frankie Thomas, turning in a very nicely etched performance as the basically good kid with some bad breaks. But once Thomas gets blamed for the fires, the Kids get to come into their own, and they don't disappoint. All of this leaves Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan with little to do, although Sheridan still makes the most of every moment she has. Ray Enright directs with an eye on pacing and speed, and also makes the fire scene extremely effective. Faces is no great film, but fans of the Dead End Kids will definitely want to seek it out.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/03/2010
UPC:
0883316269459
Original Release:
1939
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:26:00
Sales rank:
41,719

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ann Sheridan Joy Ryan
Billy Halop Billy Shafter
Ronald Reagan Pat Remson
Gabriel Dell Luigi
Bernard Punsly Sleepy Arkelian
Leo Gorcey Leo Finnegan
Huntz Hall Huntz
Bobby Jordan Bernie
Bonita Granville Peggy Finnigan
Frankie Thomas Gabe Ryan
Henry O'Neill Mr. Remson, Sr.
Eduardo Ciannelli Martino
Berton Churchill Mayor Dooley
Dick Rich Shuffle
Jackie Searl Alfred Goonplatz
Margaret Hamilton Miss Hannaberry
Marjorie Main Mrs. Arkelian
Minor Watson Attorney
Cy Kendall Hynes
Grady Sutton Gildersleeve
Aldrich Bowker Turnkey
Robert Strange Simpkins
Egon Brecher Mr. Smith
Nat Carr Actor
Jack Clifford Actor
Dead End Kids Actor
Sibyl Harris Mrs. Smith
Max Hoffman Reporters
Garry Owen Drivers
Jack Wagner Marsh
Tom Wilson Actor
Claude Wisberg Al
Frank Coghlan Boy
John Harron Reporter
William Hopper Photographer
Edward Keane Defense Attorney
Bernard Nedell Kroner
John Ridgely Reporter
Harry Strang Assistant turnkey
Charles Trowbridge Superintendent
Eddy Chandler Cop

Technical Credits
Ray Enright Director
Robert Buckner Screenwriter
Niven Busch Screenwriter
Adolph Deutsch Score Composer
Michael Fessier Screenwriter
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
James Gibbon Editor
Arthur Todd Cinematographer

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