Watching 1939: Angels Wash Their Faces (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult.

angels41939 film:
Angels Wash Their Faces (1939)

Release date:
Aug. 26, 1939

Ann Sheridan, Frankie Thomas, Bonita Granville, Ronald Reagan, Henry O’Neill, Eduardo Ciannelli, Berton Churchill, Bernard Nedell, Dick Rich, Margaret Hamilton, Marjorie Main, Minor Watson, Cy Kendall, Grady Sutton, Aldrich Bowker, Cy Kendall, William Hopper (uncredited)
The Dead End Kids: Billy Halop, Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bernard Punsly, Gabriel Jordan, Bobby Jordan

Warner Bros.

Ray Enright

Teenager Gabe Ryan (Thomas) is released from reform school on good behavior, and he returns home to live with his older sister, Joy (Sheridan). However, life isn’t easy when Gabe returns home. After a local mobster’s (Ciannelli) romantic advances are turned down by Joy, a mob starts framing Gabe as an arsonist, accusing him of setting fires. Because of his reform school background, locals and school teachers corroborate the story. A group of neighborhood kids (Granville, The Dead End Kids) help to clear Gabe’s name after the mob burns down an apartment home and frames Gabe.

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