DEAD END (1937) B/W 93m dir: William Wyler
w/Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart, Wendy Barrie, Claire Trevor, Allen Jenkins, Marjorie Main, Billy Halop, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan, Gabe Dell, Leo Gorcey
From The Movie Guide: "Depression-era poverty, slums and crime provide the themes for DEAD END, Sam Goldwyn's film production of the popular Sidney Kingsley play. Well meaning and once considered hardhitting, this celebrated social drama now seems rather mawkish and quaint. The message is not just that these impoverished surroundings can be a cradle for crime but that good folks may also be brought up on these mean streets.
"After ten years of pursuing a criminal career, escalating from robbery to murder, Bogart returns to his old New York City neighborhood. Disguised by extensive plastic surgery, he wants to see his mother (Main) and his old girlfriend (Trevor) while avoiding a nationwide dragnet. DEAD END is also the story of McCrea, a scrupulous and unsuccessful architect struggling to get out of the slum. He thinks he's in love with Barrie, a rich woman living in a nearby luxury apartment building but he is the apple of Sidney's eye. She is a respectable woman living in poverty and struggling to keep her kid brother, Halop, on the straight and narrow. Meanwhile, Bogart begins teaching Halop and other 'Dead End Kids' all the wiseguy tricks he's learned in his misspent life. McCrea, his boyhood chum, warns Bogart that he will take steps against him unless he stops exerting his rotten influence on the impressionable youths.
"William Wyler's sterling direction creates a stagey but fairly compelling vision of slum life. The wonderful set by Richard Day is an enlarged duplicate of the Broadway set. Lillian Hellman's script changes little of Kingsley's earthy prose except for the ending. Humphrey Bogart is captivating as the alienated gangster, building upon his success of THE PETRIFIED FOREST a year earlier. He was originally billed below Sidney, but, in re-releases of this film, he was given star billing."
DEAD END was nominated for four Oscars: Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Trevor), Cinematography (Gregg Toland), and Art Direction (Day).