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Mr. Wise Guy
Mr. Wise Guy FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byWilliam Nigh
Screenplay bySam Robins
Harvey Gates
Jack Henley
Story byMartin Mooney
Produced bySam Katzman (producer)
Barney A. Sarecky (associate producer)
Jack Dietz (producer)
StarringEast Side Kids
CinematographyArthur Reed
Edited byCarl Pierson
Distributed byMonogram Pictures
Release date
  • February 20, 1942 (1942-02-20)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States

Mr. Wise Guy is a 1942 American film starring The East Side Kids and directed by William Nigh.[1]


In New York, the East Side youth gang, consisting of: Muggs McGinnis, Danny Collins, Glimpy Stone, Scruno, Skinny, and Peewee are falsely arrested on the wharf because the truck they are playing in was stolen. They are remanded to Wilton Reform School, where Muggs, the wise-cracking leader of the gang, is dubbed "Mr. Wise Guy" by the brutal guard Jed Miller (Dick Ryan).

Jim Barnes, the new warden, reassures Danny's older brother Bill, who has bad memories of the school from when he served as a guard there, that his testimony describing the place's cruelty eventually resulted in the dismissal of the former warden and the adoption of gentler rules. Bill is given a tour of the school by Barnes's secretary, Ann Mitchell, and later takes her out to dinner.

That night, while Bill buys cigarettes in a drugstore, escaped convict Luke Manning robs the place and murders the clerk. Manning takes Bill hostage in his car and forces him to lead the police on a chase. Manning escapes when Bill crashes the car, and Bill is later convicted of robbery and murder and sentenced to execution.

In the reform school, the boys have been battling with two toughs, "Rice Pudding" Charlie and Chalky Jones, but when Barnes witnesses Miller encouraging a fistfight, he demands Miller's resignation. Chalky tries to get the kids in trouble by informing Barnes of their plans to run away, but in an effort to establish a code of honor, Barnes punishes Chalky for being an informer.

When Muggs and his pals see newsreel footage of a man and woman accepting the winnings from a lottery, they recognize the man as Knobby, the driver of the stolen truck. They link Knobby to Manning based on information given to them by Charlie, who is Manning's nephew. Armed with information that could prove Bill's innocence, the boys escape from the reform school and go to the apartment of Dorothy Melton, the woman from the newsreel. The kids hold the pair, who had been planning to leave town with the lottery money which actually belongs to Manning, who was afraid of being seen. Manning appears at Dorothy's apartment to demand his money and hits Dorothy for double-crossing him with Knobby. Before the situation can worsen, the police arrive and arrest the criminals. Bill gets a reprieve from the governor, and Ann and the boys see him off as he reports for active military duty. Upon seeing Miller also being drafted, Bill tell his Sergeant to book him up for the guard house before Bill starts to beat up Miller while the boys are watching and cheering.


The East Side Kids

Additional cast


Gabriel Dell's first East Side Kids film. Like Huntz Hall, Dell was simultaneously doing both this series and Universal's Dead End Kids and Little Tough Guys series. Unlike the Dead End Kids films, in most of Dell's East Side Kids films, he portrayed a villain, rather than a member of the gang.


  1. ^ Hayes, David (1982). The Films of the Bowery Boys. Secaucus, NJ: The Citadel Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0806509310.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 March 2021, at 13:23
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