Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Dead End (1937)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Dead End (1937)

In William Wyler's urban drama - an adaptation of Lillian Hellman's classic play:

  • the memorable sequences of wealthy, sinister, gang-war gangster "Baby Face" Martin's (Humphrey Bogart) return to his old New York City (East River) slum neighborhood on the East Side
  • the memorable debut of the gang of Dead End Kids (including Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey)
  • Baby Face's 'tricks of the trade' advice to the gang about a fight at 4 o'clock: ("Get there early, earlier than you said, see? Then they won't be ready for ya...And get yourself some old electric bulbs and throw 'em. Then you throw a couple of milk bottles, see? When some of the other kids get hurt, then you charge 'em, but not before, see?...Listen, kid, when you fight, the idea is to win. It don't matter how. And in gang fightin', you take out the tough guys first. And a stocking full of sand and rocks is good for that. And if that don't work, a knife will")
  • Martin's devastating, tearjerking encounter with his mother (Marjorie Main) on the stairway of her slum building, when she called him a "no-good tramp" and a "dirty yellow dog"; when he asked: "Mom, ain't you glad to see me?", she repudiated him with a harsh slap across the face ("That's how glad I am"); she told him: "Don't call me Mom. You ain't no son of mine. What do you want from me now?", and urged him to go: "...then get out of here before I crack your face again! Get out of here...Yeah, you're a killer all right. You're a murderer. You're a butcher, sure. Why don't you leave me forget you? Ain't I got troubles enough with the cops and newspapers botherin' me?...Just leave us alone. You never brought nothin' but trouble. Just stay away and leave us alone and die. But leave us alone")
Troubling Visit with Ex-Girlfriend Francey -
Now a Syphilitic Hooker
  • Martin's meeting with his old girlfriend Francey (Claire Trevor) - he had come back for her, and his horrified reaction when he realized that she had become a ravaged, syphilitic prostitute - she told him: "I wouldn't be good for ya...It's a dream. I'm having a dream. What I wanted for so long. I'm tired. I'm sick. Can't you see it? Look at me good. You've been lookin' at me like I used to be....Well, what did ya expect?"; when he felt pity for her, he reached for a wad of bills: "Here. It's hot. Be careful where you spend it. And keep your lips buttoned up"; then, as she left, but turned back, she asked for a kiss on the cheek: "For old times' sake, will you do me a favor? Please. Will you kiss me here? Just for old times' sake? Thanks"

"Baby Face" Martin
(Humphrey Bogart)

The Dead End Kids

"Tricks of the Trade" Advice to Gang

"Baby Face" With His Mother - Who Called Him a "No-Good Tramp"


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