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The Angels Wash Their Faces

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Angels Wash Their Faces
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRay Enright
Written byMichael Fessier
Niven Busch
Robert Buckner
Produced byMax Siegel
StarringAnn Sheridan
Billy Halop
Bernard Punsly
Leo Gorcey
Huntz Hall
Gabriel Dell
Bobby Jordan
Ronald Reagan
Bonita Granville
Frankie Thomas
Henry O'Neill
Eduardo Ciannelli
CinematographyArthur L. Todd
Edited byJames Gibson
Music byAdolph Deutsch
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • August 26, 1939 (1939-08-26)
Running time
86 minutes

The Angels Wash Their Faces is a 1939 Warner Bros. film directed by Ray Enright and starring Ann Sheridan, Ronald Reagan and the Dead End Kids.

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  • Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) Pat O'Brien , Color version



Gabe Ryan is released from reform school and is taken to a new house by his sister Joy to start a new life where no one knows of his past. However, Gabe immediately joins the Beale Street Termites gang, and meets gangster William Kroner, who accuses Gabe of starting a fire at one Kroner's his properties. Alfred Martino, the actual arsonist, uses the opportunity to frame Gabe for other fires. He torches one of his apartment complexes so that he can collect the insurance money, but one of the kids named Sleepy is killed in the fire.

Patrick Remson, the assistant district attorney, tries to prove Gabe's innocence. His motives are not only to prove Gabe's innocence but also to get closer to Gabe's sister. Joy has devoted her life to helping Gabe and neglects her other interests such as rallying against city-government corruption, which pleases Martino. However, Gabe is found guilty and sentenced to prison.

The other boys, led by Billy, try to help Gabe. Billy runs for mayor and wins. He has Kroner arrested for a small infraction and sends him to jail. Billy and the rest of the gang interrogate Kroner and try to force him to admit that Gabe is innocent, but Kroner does not budge until he is shown proof that his accomplices, Martino and the fire chief, are planning to leave the country. He confesses and Martino and the chief are arrested and sent to prison.


The Dead End Kids

Additional cast


The Angels Wash Their Faces was filmed under the title The Battle of the City Hall.[1] It was changed to reference the title of the unrelated film Angels with Dirty Faces,[2] which also starred Ann Sheridan and the Dead End Kids along with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart and had been released the previous year.


Variety wrote that although Ray Enright sacrificed "plausibility for action," he had "directed with an eye for the spectacular, including a thrilling fire scene and a dramatic courtroom sequence" and never let "the swift pace ease" while the "screenplay holds no voids in the rapid-fire plot tempo."[1]

Home media

The film was released on DVD by Warner Bros. on November 10, 2010.


  1. ^ a b "Angels Wash Their Faces". Variety. September 1939: 14.
  2. ^ Hayes, David and Brent Walker (1984). The Films of The Bowery Boys. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 June 2024, at 10:16
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