|Genre: Crime, Drama, Suspense, Gangsters, Kidnapping, Police, Detectives, Prostitution, Teenage|
Plot: New York City; the depression. The terraces of the great new apartments of the rich look down into the windows of the tenement poor. A gang of teenagers amuse themselves diving in the river and taunting the son of a rich family. Dave (Joel McCrea) helps Drina (Sylvia Sidney) as she looks after her bother, Tommy (Billy Halop), who is one of the gang. Gangster Baby Face Martin (Humphry Bogart) returns to his old home--but is rejected by his mother (Marjorie Main). Then Martin hatches a plan to make his visit worthwhile.
Like the play it is based on, DEAD END is dominated by its tenement set. Director William Wyler and director of photography Gregg Toland emphasize the contrast between the rich family and the poor tenement dwellers. Although scriptwriter Lillian Hellman had to soften Sidney Kingsley’s play, the movie’s criticism of the social order is still trenchant. DEAD END is notable for its period detail--Dave rests his arms on a pillow while entertaining himself looking out his window; a policeman beats his baton on the sidewalk to call for help. And it contains a vivid vignette from Claire Trevor as Francey, the girl Martin left behind.
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| Directed by|
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