Wild Boys of the Road

Last updated
Wild Boys of the Road
Wild Boys of the Road (1933 three-sheet).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by William Wellman
Screenplay by Earl Baldwin
Story byDaniel Ahern
Produced by Robert Presnell Sr.
Starring Frankie Darro
Edwin Phillips
Rochelle Hudson
Grant Mitchell
Cinematography Arthur L. Todd
Edited by Thomas Pratt
Music by Bernhard Kaun (uncredited)
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
  • October 7, 1933 (1933-10-07)
Running time
67 minutes
LanguageEnglish
Budget$203,000
Lobby card with Ward Bond and Ann Hovey Wild Boys of the Road lobby card.jpg
Lobby card with Ward Bond and Ann Hovey

Wild Boys of the Road is a 1933 pre-Code Depression-era American drama film directed by William Wellman and starring Frankie Darro, Edwin Phillips, Rochelle Hudson, and Grant Mitchell. It tells the story of several teens forced into becoming hobos. The screenplay by Earl Baldwin is based on the story Desperate Youth by Daniel Ahern. In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". [1] [2]

Contents

Plot

Tommy Gordon (Edwin Phillips) tells his friend Eddie Smith (Frankie Darro) that he is going to drop out of high school to look for work to help support his struggling family. Eddie offers to speak to his father (Grant Mitchell) about getting him a job, only to discover that his father has himself just lost his own job. Eddie sells his beloved car and gives the money to his father, but when his father remains unemployed, the bills keep piling up, and the family is threatened with eviction. Eddie and Tommy decide to leave home to ease the burden on their families. Eddie leaves a note, then they board a freight train, where they meet Sally (Dorothy Coonan), another teenager, who is hoping her aunt in Chicago can put her up for a while. They have to jump from the train, and end up in a milk transfer station, where many teens in similar dire straits hop aboard another train.

When they reach Chicago, they are met by the police, who inform them and other hobos that the unemployment crisis has hit Chicago as well. Most of the transients are sent to detention, but Sally has a letter from her aunt, so they let her through. She claims her companions are her cousins; the kindly policeman is skeptical, but lets them go. Sally's Aunt Carrie (Minna Gombell) welcomes all three into her apartment, which is in reality a brothel. She warmly welcomes the three, and starts to feed them, however, before they even have a chance to eat, the place is raided by the police. The trio hastily depart, climbing out a window, and continue their rail journey east.

Nearing Columbus, one girl (Ann Hovey), caught alone in a railcar, is raped by the train brakeman (an uncredited Ward Bond). When the others find out, they start punching the assailant. By accident, the brakeman falls out of the train to his death. A little later, as the train approaches the city, everyone jumps off. Tommy hits his head on a switch and falls across the track in front of an oncoming train. He crawls desperately towards safety, but his foot gets mangled and his leg has to be amputated. They live in "Sewer Pipe City" near Cleveland for a while, until the city authorities decide to shut it down to discourage vagrancy, prompted in part to Eddie's theft of a misfitting prosthetic leg for Tommy.

Finally, the three end up living in the New York Municipal Dump. Eddie finally lands a job, but needs to find $3 to pay for a coat which the job requires. They panhandle to raise the money. When two men offer Eddie $5 to deliver a note to a movie theater cashier across the street, he jumps at the chance. The note turns out to be a demand for money. Eddie is arrested, and the other two are taken in as well when they protest. The judge (Robert Barrat) cannot get any information out of them, particularly about their parents. However, Eddie's embittered speech moves him. He dismisses the charges and promises to get Eddie's job back for him. He also promises to help the other two, and assures them that their parents will magically be back to work soon.

Cast

Accolades

In December 2013, the film was selected for the 2013 National Film Registry.

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Bad Girl</i> (1931 film) 1931 film

Bad Girl is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by Frank Borzage and starring Sally Eilers, James Dunn, and Minna Gombell. The screenplay was adapted by Edwin J. Burke from the 1928 novel by Viña Delmar and the 1930 play by Delmar and Brian Marlowe. The plot follows the courtship and marriage of two young, working-class people and the misunderstandings that result from their not having learned to trust and communicate with one another. The film propelled then-unknown actors Eilers and Dunn to stardom. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Hobo Migratory worker or homeless vagabond

A hobo is a migrant worker in the United States. Hoboes, tramps and bums are generally regarded as related, but distinct: A hobo travels and is willing to work; a tramp travels, but avoids work if possible; and a bum neither travels nor works.

Headspin Move is commonly employed in the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira and in breakdancing

A headspin is an athletic move in which a person balances on their head while rotating along the vertical axis of their body, usually without any other form of support. The move is commonly employed in the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira and in breakdancing. Though b-boy Kid Freeze is sometimes credited with having invented the headspin, the first known footage of the move is seen in the 1933 film, Wild Boys of the Road. One of the film's protagonists Edward 'Eddie' Smith, played by Frankie Darro, performs a Headspin at the 67 minute mark. There is also an older video featuring a headspin "A Street Arab" Thomas A. Edison, INC April 21, 1898 in which a preadolescent boy, dressed like a street urchin, performs acrobatic stunts for the camera. The dancer, Olav Thorshaug, performed Norwegian hallingdans shows in the United States of America around 1910-1920, incorporating the headspin in his dance.

Frankie Darro American actor (1917–1976)

Frankie Darro was an American actor and later in his career a stuntman. He began his career as a child actor in silent films, progressed to lead roles and co-starring roles in adventure, western, dramatic, and comedy films, and later became a character actor and voice-over artist. He is perhaps best known for his role as Lampwick, the unlucky boy who turns into a donkey in Walt Disney's second animated feature, Pinocchio (1940). In early credits, his last name was spelled Darrow.

William A. Wellman American director, actor

William Augustus Wellman was an American film director known for his work in crime, adventure, and action genre films, often focusing on aviation themes, a particular passion. He also directed several well-regarded satirical comedies. Beginning his film career as an actor, he went on to direct over 80 films, at times co-credited as producer and consultant. In 1927, Wellman directed Wings, which became the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture at the 1st Academy Awards ceremony.

<i>The Mayor of Hell</i> 1933 film

The Mayor of Hell is a 1933 American pre-Code Warner Brothers film starring James Cagney. The film was remade in 1938 as Crime School with Humphrey Bogart taking over James Cagney's role and Hell's Kitchen with Ronald Reagan in 1939.

<i>Make Way for Tomorrow</i> 1937 film by Leo McCarey

Make Way for Tomorrow is a 1937 American drama film directed by Leo McCarey. The plot concerns an elderly couple who are forced to separate when they lose their house and none of their five children will take both parents.

<i>Block-Heads</i> 1938 film by John G. Blystone

Block-Heads is a 1938 comedy film directed by John G. Blystone and starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. It was produced by Hal Roach Studios for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film, a reworking of elements from the Laurel and Hardy shorts We Faw Down (1928) and Unaccustomed As We Are (1929), was Roach's final film for MGM.

<i>Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?</i> (film) 1975 film

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? is a 1975 documentary film directed by Philippe Mora, consisting largely of newsreel footage and contemporary film clips to portray the era of the Great Depression.

<i>The Devil Horse</i> (1932 serial) 1932 film

The Devil Horse is a 1932 American Pre-Code movie serial starring Harry Carey, Frankie Darro and Noah Beery, Sr. that was distributed by Mascot Pictures. This is regarded as the best of the three serials Harry Carey made in the early 1930s, the other two being Last of the Mohicans and The Vanishing Legion. Frankie Darro had co-starred with Carey previously in The Vanishing Legion. Lane Chandler played the murdered ranger Elliott Norton, uncredited.

<i>The Hobo</i> 1917 film

The Hobo is a 1917 American silent comedy film featuring Billy West and Oliver Hardy. It is a shameless copy of Charlie Chaplin's 1915 film The Tramp with West copying Chaplin's tramp outfit down to the last detail.

<i>Heroes for Sale</i> (film) 1933 film

Heroes for Sale (1933) is an American pre-Code drama film directed by William Wellman, starring Richard Barthelmess, Aline MacMahon, and Loretta Young, and released by Warner Bros. and First National Pictures. The 76-minute original is considered lost; a 71-minute version is available from Turner Entertainment.

Dorothy Coonan Wellman was an American actress and dancer. Wellman was the widow of film director William Wellman, to whom she was married from 1934 until his death in 1975. Wellman cast her in several of his films.

Hold That Baby! is a 1949 comedy film starring The Bowery Boys. The film was released on June 26, 1949 by Monogram Pictures and is the fourteenth film in the series.

Second Fiddle is a 1939 American musical romance film directed by Sidney Lanfield, starring Sonja Henie, Tyrone Power, Rudy Vallée and Lyle Talbot and released by 20th Century Fox. The score was composed by Irving Berlin. The screenplay, based on George Bradshaw's story Heart Interest, involves a Hollywood publicity agent who falls in love with a new actress he helped to discover. The film combines a parody of the extensive search for an actress to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind with a Cyrano de Bergerac–type plot. It is sometimes known as Irving Berlin's Second Fiddle.

<i>The County Fair</i> (1920 film) 1920 film

The County Fair is a 1920 American film directed by Edmund Mortimer and Maurice Tourneur.

<i>Johnny Doesnt Live Here Anymore</i> 1944 film by Joe May

Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore is a 1944 American comedy/romance film starring Simone Simon, James Ellison, William Terry, and featuring Robert Mitchum in an early role. Produced by King Brothers Productions, it was co-written by Philip Yordan and directed by the German-American director Joe May, and constitutes the final film directed by Joe May. It was based on a short story purchased by the King Brothers. The film has fantasy elements, with the main character being followed by a gremlin.

<i>Pagan Love Song</i> 1950 film by Robert Alton

Pagan Love Song is a 1950 American romantic musical film released by MGM and starring Esther Williams and Howard Keel. Set in Tahiti, it was based on the novel Tahiti Landfall by William S. Stone.

Little Men is a 1934 American feature film based on Louisa May Alcott's 1871 novel Little Men, starring Ralph Morgan and Erin O'Brien-Moore, directed by Phil Rosen, and was released by Mascot Pictures. Alcott wrote Little Men in response to her prior novel, Little Women, hoping to achieve the same level of success.

<i>The Lemon Drop Kid</i> (1934 film) 1934 film by Marshall Neilan

The Lemon Drop Kid is a 1934 American comedy and drama directed by Marshall Neilan and written by Howard J. Green, J.P. McEvoy and Damon Runyon. The film stars Lee Tracy, Helen Mack, William Frawley, Minna Gombell, Baby LeRoy, Kitty Kelly and Henry B. Walthall. The film was released on September 28, 1934, by Paramount Pictures.

References

  1. "Library of Congress announces 2013 National Film Registry selections". The Washington Post (Press release). December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  2. "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  3. According to Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies, director William Wellman spotted Coonan as she was roller skating, while she was on a break from work on another film. He soon cast her, and, not long afterward, married her. They remained married until his death in 1975.