Wednesday, November 19, 2014
DEAD END (1937)
The story for DEAD END is okay and the acting is passable, but it's all so dated and cliche that there's really no power left in it. It's an interesting watch, from a historical point of view and/or from the career perspective of the stars (I was really into the scenes between Bogart and Claire Trevor since I knew they would work together again in KEY LARGO), but if you don't have the time to spend you'd be better off watching something like I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG or even GRAND HOTEL.
On a positive note: the Dead End Kids weren't as annoying here as they were in ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES, there was a strong supporting cast (including Ward Bond, Marjorie Main, James Burke, Minor Watson, Charles Halton) and the set was very impressive. Director William Wyler wanted to shoot the film on location in the slums of NYC, but Samuel Goldwyn shot him down and had set designer Richard Day recreate the waterfront location entirely on a sound stage. Day ended up receiving a Oscar nomination for his work.