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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Crime School
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLewis Seiler
Written byCrane Wilbur
Vincent Sherman
Produced byBryan Foy
StarringHumphrey Bogart
Gale Page
Dead End Kids
CinematographyArthur Todd
Edited byTerry Morse
Music byMax Steiner
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • May 28, 1938 (1938-05-28)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States

Crime School is a 1938 American crime drama film directed by Lewis Seiler and starring the Dead End Kids, Humphrey Bogart and Gale Page. It was produced and distributed by Warner Brothers.

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A junk dealer does business with the Dead End Kids: Frankie, Squirt, Spike, Goofy, Fats, and Bugs. When the boys ask for a $20 payoff, he counters with an offer of only $5. Spike flies into a rage and bludgeons him in the head, knocking him unconscious. The kids are arrested and brought trial, where the judge sentences all of them to reform school after they refuse to confirm which one struck the blow.

The harsh warden of the reformatory, Morgan, inflicts discipline at the school and flogs Frankie after he tries to escape. The superintendent of the state reformatories, Mark Braden, visits the school and finds evidence of Morgan's subtle cruelty, as in feeding his new inmates poor-quality food. He then visits Frankie in the hospital ward, finding him untreated and the doctor inebriated. As a way of starting over, he fires the doctor, Morgan, and four ex-convict guards, while retaining the head guard, Cooper. Braden takes charge of the reformatory himself and wins over the boys' cooperation by considerate treatment, while romancing Frankie's sister, Sue Warren.

Meanwhile, Cooper is afraid that Braden will learn of Morgan's embezzlement of the food budget, which would implicate him as well. He learns that Spike is the one who dealt the blow to the junk dealer and blackmails him. He gets him to tell Frankie that Braden's generous treatment is due to his sister's acceptance of Braden's attentions. Although untrue, it leads the kids to escape from the school in Cooper's car with his gun. They go to Sue's apartment, and Frankie climbs the fire escape with the gun to confront Braden, but Sue and Braden dispel Frankie's suspicions.

Meanwhile, Cooper "discovers" that the kids have escaped, and Morgan calls the press to discredit Braden and get him fired. However, Braden drives the boys back to the reformatory and gets them into their beds, before the Commissioner, alerted by Morgan, arrives for an inspection with the police in tow. Their plot foiled and their fraud uncovered, Morgan and Cooper are arrested. The boys are subsequently paroled into the care of their parents.


The Dead End Kids

Additional cast


  • As this was a Warner Bros. film and not a United Artists' film like Dead End, they advertised the kids as 'The Crime School Kids' in this film, and their next, Angels with Dirty Faces. However, the name did not catch on and they remained 'The Dead End Kids'.[1]
  • Before the film was released, Halop, Dell, Hall, and Punsly were released from their contracts by Warner Brothers and they went on to make a film at Universal, Little Tough Guy. The success of this film caused Warner to reconsider and they were rehired at a substantial raise.[1]
  • The Dead End Kids received top billing over Humphrey Bogart for Crime School, with their typeface also larger than Bogart's in posters and advertising.

Home media

Warner Archives released the film on made to order DVD in the United States on August 4, 2009.


  1. ^ a b Hayes, David and Brent Walker (1984). The Films of The Bowery Boys. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 August 2023, at 00:31
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