Boys Town

The story of Father Flanagan's struggle to make a successful boy's home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan's untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters who otherwise might wind up in the electric chair.

With:
Spencer Tracy Mickey Rooney Henry Hull Leslie Fenton Gene Reynolds Bobs Watson

The story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to make a successful boy’s home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan’s untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters who otherwise might wind up in the electric chair.

With Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney as the priest and the incorrigible lad, in tailor-made roles, Boys Town is a tear-jerker of the first water. Yet it has equal distribution of humorous and bitter moments. Rooney virtually takes the production away from the capable and veteran Tracy, though not appearing until feature is half-finished.

Rooney is the toughie whose repartee is as laughable as his cocky walk and mannerisms. Slow curbing of his desires as he bucks Boys Town customs and rules is a transition of character that is logically worked out. Tracy, showing necessary restraint, makes his portrayal of Flanagan sincere and human. It is not the first time he has played the role of a priest on the screen.

Henry Hull, the money-supplying pawnbroker who makes possible the boys home, builds this comparatively minor role into an impressive assignment.

1938: Best Actor (Spencer Tracy), Original Story (Eleanore Griffin, Dore Schary).

Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Screenplay

Boys Town

Production: M-G-M. Director Norman Taurog; Producer John W. Considine Jr; Screenplay John Meehan, Dore Schary; Camera Sidney Wagner; Editor Elmo Veron; Music Edward Ward

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1938. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: Spencer Tracy Mickey Rooney Henry Hull Leslie Fenton Gene Reynolds Bobs Watson

More Film

  • Anita Hill

    Anita Hill Chairs Hollywood Anti-Sexual Harassment Commission Formed by Top Execs

    The story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to make a successful boy’s home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan’s untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters […]

  • Warren Beatty

    Arnon Milchan Sues Warren Beatty Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    The story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to make a successful boy’s home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan’s untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters […]

  • Oscar Isaac Addams Family

    Oscar Isaac in Talks to Voice Gomez Addams in Animated 'Addams Family' Movie

    The story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to make a successful boy’s home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan’s untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters […]

  • Jennifer Lawrence

    Publicists for Jennifer Lawrence, Daisy Ridley, Amy Adams Form New Firm

    The story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to make a successful boy’s home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan’s untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters […]

  • Hannah Marks Liana Liberato

    Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato to Star in High School Comedy 'Banana Split'

    The story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to make a successful boy’s home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan’s untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters […]

  • NOR_D01_053017_9621_R2 – L-R: Tom Hanks (Ben

    Steven Spielberg's 'The Post' to Open Palm Springs Film Festival

    The story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to make a successful boy’s home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan’s untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters […]

  • Willa Fitzgerald

    'The Goldfinch' Movie Adaptation Casts Willa Fitzgerald (EXCLUSIVE)

    The story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to make a successful boy’s home and then an entire community near Omaha, Neb, is the motivating theme throughout. Producers shrewdly have not made it entirely a paean of praise for Boys Town, but rather a realistic portrayal of Father Flanagan’s untiring efforts to make something of wayward youngsters […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content