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'Crime School'

Crime School Theatrical Poster
Directed by Lewis Seiler
Produced by Bryan Foy
Written by Crane Wilbur
Vincent Sherman
Starring Humphrey Bogart
Gale Page
Billy Halop
Bobby Jordan
Huntz Hall
Leo Gorcey
Bernard Punsly
Gabriel Dell
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Arthur Todd
Editing by Terry Morse
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) May 28, 1938 (U.S.)
Running time 86 min.
Language English
Preceded by Dead End (1937)
Followed by Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

Crime School is a 1938 Warner Bros. film directed by Lewis Seiler and starring the Dead End Kids and Humphrey Bogart.



A junkman is attacked by the Dead End Kids (Frankie (Billy Halop), Squirt (Bobby Jordan), Spike (Leo Gorcey), Goofy (Huntz Hall), Fats (Bernard Punsly), and Bugs (Gabriel Dell) and suffers a concussion. When the court cannot convince them to admit which one struck the damaging blow, they are all sent to reform school.

The superintendent of the state reformatories, Mark Braden (Humphrey Bogart), visits the school and finds that it is being mismanaged. He fires four ex-convict guards, while retaining the head guard Cooper (Weldon Heyburn), as a way of starting over. Morgan (Cy Kendall), the cruel warden, is also fired. Braden runs the school himself and attempts to parole the kids, as well as romancing Sue Warren (Gale Page), Frankie's sister.

Meanwhile, Cooper is afraid that Braden will learn of Morgan's illegal use of the food budget, which would implicate himself as well. He learns that Spike is the one who dealt the blow to the junkman and blackmails him. He gets him to tell Frankie that Sue is being forced by Braden into paying for the special treatment that they have received. Although untrue, it causes the kids to escape the school.

They confront Braden once outside and learn the truth. Cooper "discovers" that the kids have escaped and Morgan calls the press in order to discredit Braden and get him fired. Once the kids are back at the school, and the police arrive, Braden delivers evidence about Morgan's fraud, and he is then arrested.


  • As this was a Warner Bros. film and not a United Artists' film like Dead End, they advertised the kids as 'The Crime School Kids' in this film, and their next, Angels with Dirty Faces. However, the name did not catch on and they remained 'The Dead End Kids'.[1]
  • Before the film was released, Halop, Dell, Hall, and Punsly were released from their contracts by Warner Brothers and they went on to make a film at Universal, Little Tough Guy. The success of this film caused Warner to reconsider and they were rehired at a substantial raise.[2]
  • The Dead End Kids received top billing over Humphrey Bogart for Crime School, with their typeface also larger than Bogart's in posters and advertising.


  1. ^ Hayes, David and Brent Walker (1984). The Films of The Bowery Boys. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.
  2. ^ Hayes, David and Brent Walker (1984). The Films of The Bowery Boys. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel Press.

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