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Friday, December 6, 2013

Boys Of The City (1940)

Starring Bobby Jordan, Leo Gorcey, Hal E. Chester, Frankie Burke, Vince Barnett
Directed by Joseph H. Lewis
(actor & director credits courtesy

The East Side Kids, after another run-in with the law, agree to spend the summer at a home in the country, but end up having to stay the first night at a spooky house where murder strikes.

The East Side Kids, one of several incarnations of a gang of tough young boys living on the street who were featured in numerous films from the 1930s well into the 1950s, headline this production, and it's a pretty entertaining one despite its low budget, featuring memorable parts for some quality character actors.  Minerva Urecal, often cast as an old spinster in numerous films for the "Poverty Row" studios, particularly shines as the creepy housekeeper with an evil laugh.  The African-American member of the kids is saddled with the familiar stereotypes of the era, and there isn't anything particularly different or exciting about the plot or direction, but one can see why this kind of light entertainment kept audiences coming back for more adventures with this cast.

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