×

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

  • Harry Styles to Play Prince Eric

    Harry Styles in Talks to Play Prince Eric in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Harry Styles is going under the sea. The former One Direction frontman is in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • Stuber Movie

    Disney Left With a Slate of Film Flops After Fox Deal

    Is Disney having buyer’s remorse? The studio would be forgiven if it were having some regrets after absorbing 20th Century Fox, the company that once generated big box office with the likes of “Avatar,” “Life of Pi,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” After “Dark Phoenix” bombed earlier this summer, Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista’s action comedy “Stuber” [...]

  • Taika Waititi Returning to Direct 'Thor

    Taika Waititi to Direct Marvel's 'Thor 4'

    Taika Waititi is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The filmmaker will write and direct the sequel to his 2017 blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok.” Waititi’s take on the fourth “Thor” movie puts Warner Bros.’ long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely. However, the studio hopes that “Akira” can get resume production with Waititi at the helm once [...]

  • Akira

    'Akira' Production Put on Hold by Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. has put its long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely, sources tell Variety. Sources indicate that after a brief delay, the studio has pulled the plug on production indefinitely for the classic anime adaptation, which was set to begin later this fall. “Thor: Ragnarok” helmer Taika Waititi was on board to direct, and the [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

  • Sebastian Maniscalco Green Book

    Sebastian Maniscalco Moves Into Movies With 'Green Book' and 'The Irishman'

    As a comedian whose routines not only lampoon Italian stereotypes but demand larger-than-life performances of those cultural peccadilloes, Sebastian Maniscalco has carefully — if inadvertently — created a niche for himself as an actor. In 2018, in between selling out shows at Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, he took his first steps [...]

  • Erin Westerman

    Lionsgate Promotes Erin Westerman to President of Motion Picture Production

    Lionsgate has promoted veteran executive Erin Westerman to the post of president of production of its Motion Picture Group. Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake and motion picture group president Nathan Kahane made the announcement Tuesday. The post has been vacant since earlier this year, when it was held as a co-presidency by Peter Kang [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content