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The Mayor of Hell
The Mayor of Hell
Actors: James Cagney, Mickey Bennett, Raymond Borzage, Arthur Byron, Robert H. Barrat
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2008     1hr 30min

Archie Mayo's The Mayor of Hell (1933) focuses on the plight of inner-city youth sent to reform schools where they're more likely to be destroyed than rehabilitated. We get a full two reels of setup (featuring troubled lad...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: James Cagney, Mickey Bennett, Raymond Borzage, Arthur Byron, Robert H. Barrat
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Classics, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 03/25/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1933
Theatrical Release Date: 00/00/1933
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Warner's pre code social drama
Douglas M | 04/26/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Warner Brothers were famous for their social dramas and this time it is reform schools. Released in 1933, "The Mayor of Hell", is a forceful pre-code melodrama which exposes the cruelty and neglect doled out to the inmates of a reformatory, teenagers who invariably return to society as hardened criminals due to the inhuman treatment they receive.

The film is really a starring vehicle for the magnetic Frankie Darro as the hoodlum who fights the system but James Cagney officially stars as a gangster politically appointed as governer of the reform school. Cagney clearly gives the film box office appeal but the balance of the drama is awkward as his part was obviously built up. MGM's Madge Evans plays a crusading nurse and although she is excellent, she lacks the realism that Joan Blondell, for example, would have brought to the part. The film builds to an exciting and predictable climax and Dudley Digges is a very convincing villian.

The print of the DVD is excellent and there are some entertaining extras, the best being a good commentary which particularly highlights the censorship issues which plagued the film. Warner's night at the movies is included but unusually, both the short film and the cartoon are dreary.

The is probably the least interesting film included in the Warner's Gangster Set Volume 3."