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Dead End

Sylvia Sidney , Joel McCrea , William Wyler    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 70.65
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4.0 out of 5 stars Park Ave. it ain't! July 20 2000
Format:VHS Tape
In the film Dead End, the murky waters of Manhattan's East River served as an appropriate backdrop for the squalor that manifested itself within the conefines of tenament housing. City streets that offered little hope for the jobless, poor, and oppressed were truely "dead ends". Written by Lillian Hellman and directed by William Wyler, Dead End exposed the stark social and economic divisions between the affluent and the underpriveledged. Logistically, the film was easily adapted from Sidney Kingsley's stage play, as most of the scenes are shot within the shadows of Manhattan's East 53rd street highrises. Dead End is essentially about people and their relationship with the neighborhood that spawned them. Gangster Baby Face Martin ( Humphrey Bogart) returns to his old block seeking glorified acceptance from his mother, only to be rudely rebuffed. Plastic surgery may conceal Martin's outward identity, but his crimminal persona is clearly defined through his street wise and violent attitude towards survival. At first Martin basks in the limelight; preening with sharp suit, hat, and polished shoes. As if to make a social statement exclaiming the virtues and rewards of crime, Martin becomes an icon for a teenage street gang (The Dead End Kids). When Martin is shocked by his mother's repulsive behavior, he seeks out his old flame (Clair Trevor). When she reveals that she is now a prostitute, Martin once again becomes tormented that his homecoming is a lonely one. Sylvia Sydney plays Drina, a young unemployed woman struggling to forge an identity of her own while raising her teenage brother. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Dead End For Some July 13 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Dead End is set in a 1930's New York City neighbourhood where the upper class live in buildings right across the street from the lower class slums. It's a bizarre juxtaposition, since each side can see how the others live. The story focuses on the lives of some of those who live there, focusing more on the poor. Sylvia Sidney stars as a young woman on strike, trying to support her kid brother Billy Halop, who has become a member of the neighbourhood gang (the Dead End Kids). Joel McCrea is the idealistic architect she has loved since childhood. But he's infatuated with Wendy Barrie, a formerly poor girl who now lives across the street. Into this neighbourhood walks Humphrey Bogart, who used to live there, but has now moved on to bigger things like a career in crime. All of their stories intertwine to give an honest, if not very happy picture of the human condition. All of the actors are very good, including Claire Trevor as Bogart's former flame, who since he left the neighbourhood, has fallen on hard times. The Dead End Kids get too much screen time, but the story moves along well. It's not the kind of story you expect William Wyler to direct, but he does so with his usual class, successfully juggling several story lines at once. The message of the movie is pretty obvious. Although the neighbourhood is at the end of a dead end street, the lives of some of the people are at a dead end, even those like Bogart, who have found a way out. Some may make it, many won't.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bogie and The Dead End Kids June 15 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This is the film that propelled the Dead End Kids (Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan et al) to stardom.
Humphrey Bogart portrays a gangster who returns to his old neighborhood only to come to grief.
The Dead End Kids portray slum kids living right next door to the luxurious apartment houses of the rich.
Sylvia Sidney and Joel McCrea are the star-crossed lovers who try to battle their way out of the slums.
Gangster melodrama at its finest!
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