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The Angels Wash Their Faces

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Angels Wash Their Faces
Poster of The Angels Wash Their Faces.jpg
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 Ronald Reagan and The Dead End Kids.


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 a local gang, the Beale Street Termites, where he meets up with William Kroner, a local gangster. William accuses him of starting a fire at one of his properties, and Alfred Martino, the actual arsonist, uses this opportunity to frame Gabe for any fire. He decides to torch one of his apartment complexes so that he can collect the insurance money. Unfortunately, one of the kids, 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 his sister. Joy has devoted her life to helping Gabe and neglects her other interests, which was rallying against city government corruption, which pleases Martino. However, it is all for naught as Gabe is found guilty and sentenced to prison.

The other boys, led by Billy, decide to do something to help Gabe. Billy runs for "boy mayor" and wins. He has Kroner arrested for a small infraction and sends him to jail. While there, Billy and the rest of the gang interrogate him and try to make him admit that Gabe is innocent. He does not cave in, that is until he is shown proof that his accomplices, Martino and the fire chief, are planning to skip 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 movie Angels with Dirty Faces.[2]


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 Brothers 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 22 June 2021, at 23:19
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