The Mayor of Hell

Overview

Gangster Cagney allows his powerful political connections to appoint him "deputy inspector" of a state reform school. There he finds the youths abused and battered by a brutal, heartless warden and his thuggish guards. It is a nurse who informs Cagney and pleads with him to clean things up. Something touches Cagney's normally hard heart and he commits himself to enacting more humane reforms. Soon, he gets the warden booted out and begins working closely with the inmates, who come to trust and respect him until ...
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Overview

Gangster Cagney allows his powerful political connections to appoint him "deputy inspector" of a state reform school. There he finds the youths abused and battered by a brutal, heartless warden and his thuggish guards. It is a nurse who informs Cagney and pleads with him to clean things up. Something touches Cagney's normally hard heart and he commits himself to enacting more humane reforms. Soon, he gets the warden booted out and begins working closely with the inmates, who come to trust and respect him until Cagney's dark side emerges and he reveals himself for what he is--a ruthless mobster. This destroys the boys' trust and when the old warden is reinstated makes matters even worse until Cagney makes a difficult choice.
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Special Features

Commentary by film historian Greg Mank; Warner Night at the Movies 1933 short subject gallery:; Vintage newsreel; Musical short: The Audition; Classic cartoon: The Organ Grinder; Trailers of The Mayor of Hell and 1933's The Kennel Murder Case; Bonus trailers of the Storyline-linked Crime School and Hell's Kitchen
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Mayor of Hell is a hybrid movie, an uncomfortable melding of social melodrama, gangster film and love story that never quite puts its parts together convincingly. Mayor's core is the social melodrama, with the other genres grafted onto it, but even here it has problems: it has a social conscience that it parades grandly, but that conscience doesn't sit comfortably with the excessive, and sometimes absurd, melodramatics that encase it. To put it simply, the screenplay's reach far exceeds its grasp, and this results in some truly awful dialogue (and some entire awful scenes) in places. That said, when it manages to get its act together, it does provide a number of effective sequences, and director Archie Mayo uses a machine-gun directorial approach that tries to keep the film lively and engaging, aiming for genuine emotion when possible but not afraid to go for artificial if it keeps the film moving. James Cagney is in fine fighting rooster style, using his personal charm to imbue believability into a character that doesn't really make a lot of sense. Madge Evans is rather colorless, albeit in a colorless role, but Dudley Digges is absolutely dandy as the villain of the piece, and Frankie Darro does well as the main delinquent with a good side underneath. One last warning: as with many films of the period, there are a number of ethnic stereotypes.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/25/2008
  • UPC: 883929002719
  • Original Release: 1933
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Remastered / B&W
  • Time: 1:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 42,341

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Cagney Patsy Gargan
Madge Evans Dorothy Griffith
Allen Jenkins Mike
Dudley Digges Mr. Thompson
Arthur Byron Judge Gilbert
Frankie Darro Jimmy Smith
William V. Mong Walters
Mickey Bennett Butch Kilgore
Sidney Miller Izzy Horowitz
Farina Smoke
Ted Offenbecker Charlie Burns
Dorothy Peterson Mrs. Smith
John Marston Hopkins
Hobart Cavanaugh Mr. Groman
Raymond Borzage Johnny Stone
Robert H. Barrat Mr. Smith
George Pat Collins Brandon
Sheila Terry Girl
Harold Huber Joe
Edwin Maxwell Louis Johnston
George Humbert Tony's father
Charles Cane Tommy Gorman
Wallace MacDonald Johnson's assistant
Adrian Morris Car owner
Fred "Snowflake" Toones Hemingway
Wilfred Lucas Guard
Bob Perry Collector
Charles Sullivan Collector
Ben Taggart Sheriff
Charles Wilson Guard
George Offerman Sr. Charlie Burns
Technical Credits
Archie Mayo Director
Islin Auster Original Story
Edward Chodorov Producer, Screenwriter
Leo F. Forbstein Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Esdras Hartley Art Director
Lucien Hubbard Producer
Jack Killifer Editor
Barney "Chick" McGill Cinematographer
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Frank Shaw Asst. Director
Perc Westmore Makeup
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Mayor of Hell
1. Credits [1:14]
2. Jimmy's Gang [4:18]
3. Juvenile Court [2:26]
4. Separation Anxiety [5:16]
5. Not Equal to the Task [2:47]
6. Reform School [4:53]
7. Mealtime [3:19]
8. Deputy Commissioner [2:08]
9. Escape Attempt [3:41]
10. Giving Him Ideas [4:43]
11. In Charge [3:28]
12. Take a Vacation [2:58]
13. New Kind of School [2:49]
14. Run Like a City [3:17]
15. Thompson's Scheme [4:00]
16. Playing a Long Shot [2:02]
17. Drawing Jimmy Out [3:44]
18. Taking Care of a Rat [3:34]
19. Make up for Lost Time [2:14]
20. Those Days Are Over [3:43]
21. Telltale Cough [4:22]
22. Skinny's Farewell [4:21]
23. Uprising [3:18]
24. Found Guilty [3:56]
25. All in the Same Boat [2:30]
26. Can't Get Much Happier [2:40]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Mayor of Hell
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Commentary By Greg Mank
      Warner Night at the Movies
         Play All
         The Kennel Murder Case Theatrical Trailer [Trailer]
         Newsreel
         The Audition
         The Organ Grinder
         The Mayor of Hell
      Theatrical Trailers
         Play All
         The Mayor of Hell (1933)
         Crime School (1938)
         Hell's Kitchen (1939)
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         English
      Subtitles
         English (For the Hearing Impaired)
         Fran├žais
         Off
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