Wednesday September 19, 2018
George Papadopoulos in Crime School
Last night I was watching the 1938 Warner Bros. movie “Crime School,” a remake of the 1933 Warner Bros. movie “The Mayor Hell,” which was remade again as the 1939 Warner Bros. flick “Hell's Kitchen.” They‘re all about a gang of tough kids sent to a draconian reform school, run by a corrupt superintendent, and the adult, a former tough guy, who helps them out. Since they’re Warner Bros. flicks, they‘re more about reforming the reform school system than the kids. In the last two movies, the gang is played by the Dead End Kids: Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, et al.
Early in “Crime School,” after they’ve been caught in the midst of a serious crime—seriously injuring or possibly killing a corrupt pawn broker—and after they refuse to rat on the one kid who struck the blow, everyone is brought before a judge to explain themselves. Most of the kids have monickers: Squirt, Goofy, Fats, Spike, Bugs. But the judge calls them by their real names. This is the real name for Fats (Bernard Punsly):
I practically fell over. Afterwards I kept on the lookout for any Manaforts, Cohens, Flynns, Kushners or Trumps that might creep by. Crime school, indeed.
By the way, here are the stars who play the adult tough guy/social reformer in the various movies. See if you can spot the dropoff:
- The Mayor of Hell (1933): James Cagney
- Crime School (1938): Humphrey Bogart
- Hell's Kitchen (1939): Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan—social reformer? Of course, he was a Democrat then. And Jack Warner wasn't a rat.
Yes, George, it is.