Directed by William Wyler • 1937 • United States
Starring Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart
William Wyler’s striking adaptation of the hit Broadway play by Sidney Kingsley is a vivid panorama of life on the streets of New York’s Lower East Side. Humphrey Bogart plays Baby Face Martin, a powerful gangster who returns home to the slum where he grew up and whose fate intersects with an array of dispossessed denizens, including a young woman (Sylvia Sidney) desperate to keep her younger brother from sliding into a life of crime and a struggling architect (Joel McCrea) determined to rise above his circumstances. Featuring the first appearance of the Dead End Kids (a.k.a. the Bowery Boys)—who would go on to star a string of 1930s films dealing with juvenile delinquency—DEAD END is a tough, gripping dramatization the eternal tension between the haves and have-nots.