Black SplatDead End (1937)

"You no good tramp. You dog. You dirty yellow dog, you! Don’t call me Mom. You ain’t no son of mine.

Dead End - Marjorie Main and Humphrey Bogart

Description: Marjorie Main as Mrs. Martin, the mother of gangster "Baby Face" Martin (Humphrey Bogart) who cuts the umbilical cord to her affections when he returns home to his old East End neighborhood in the motion picture Dead End (1937).

The film follows a gangster who returns to his old neighborhood to see his mother. As Martin says, "I ain't seen my mother in ten years since I got out of reform school." Unfortunately, his mother disowns him for his criminal activities.

Baby Face: Mom! Mom! How are you, Ma? It's me. It's me. I only had my face fixed.
Ma: You no good tramp.
Baby Face: Ma, ain't you glad to see me?
Ma: [slaps his face] That's how glad I am. You dog. You dirty yellow dog, you.
Baby Face: Mom, what kinda talk is that?
Ma: Don't call me, Mom. You ain't no son of mine. What do you want from me now?
Baby Face: Nothing.
Ma: Then get out of here. Before I crack you face again. Get out of here!
Baby Face: I killed a guy for looking at me the way you are now.
Ma: Yeah, you're a killer, alright. You're a murderer. You're a butcher, sure. Why don't you leave me forget yak. Ain't I got trouble enough with the cops. The newspapers bothering me. And Johnny and Martha...
Baby Face: What's wrong with them?
Ma: None of your business. Just leave us alone. You never brought nothing but trouble. Just stay away and leave us alone, and die. But leave us alone.
Baby Face: [goes to bar] I come all the way across the country. I must have been soft in the head, so help me.
Hunk: And what do you get for coming all the way cross the county. A crack in the face.

Dead End starring Humphrey Bogart and Claire Trevor

Martin is again disappointed when he sees his old girl friend, Francey (Claire Trevor) walking the streets of the East End slums. Disgusted that Francey is now a prostitute, Baby Face grimaces, and says, “Why didn’t you starve first? Coming to her own defense, she condemns Martin’s role as a gangster, and says, “Why didn’t you?"

Among the residents of the neighborhood is a group of kids- who, caught in the undertow of slum life, roam the streets looking for opportunities to make money, namely stealing things.

Dead End - Humphrey Bogart with The Dead End Kids

Martin takes time to educate the kids on street fighting, saying "Listen, kid when you fight the idea is to win. It don't matter how. And in gang fighting you take out the tough guys first. When asked "How?" Martin pulls out a knife, and says, "Like this."

These "Dead End Kids" include: Spit (Leo Gorcey), Dippy (Huntz Hall), Tommy Gordon (Billy Halop), Angel (Bobby Jordon), and Milton 'Milty' (Bernard Punsley).

Milton 'Milty': You think I'm some dope?
Spit: Yeah, a dope what smells on ice.
Tommy Gordon: Stand up to him, Milty. Stand up to him.
Milton 'Milty': What's a matter? You wanna fight?
Spit: Yeah.
Milton 'Milty': Ya do?
Spit: Yeah!
Milton 'Milty': Well, join the army!

Later, Spit betrays his fellow street thugs by squealing about the gang’s illegal actions. Angered at such disloyalty, thug Milty (Bernard Punsley) expresses his displeasure and says, “I pity the guy who snitched.”

Dead End starring Humphrey Bogart - Baby Face Martin with his crooked buddy

Meanwhile, frustrated at the way things have been going, "Baby Face" Martin plans to kidnap the nephew of a prominent judge. As he tells his partner, Hunk, "I come home for something, I didn't get. I'm coming out with something. Even if it's only dough."

Luckily, Martin's plan is thwarted by his childhood friend, Dave Connell (Joel McCrea), an unemployed architect and one of the few voices for sanity in a neighborhood gone bad.

Drina Gordon: But he's not a bad kid - not really. He never has been.
Dave Connell: The famous 'Baby Face' Martin used to live on this block. He wasn't such a bad kid either at first. He was smart and brave and decent... at first.
Drina Gordon: Like Tommy, you mean. Ever since he was a little kid I've tried to teach him what's right. I don't know what else to do - I've tried to bring him up decent.
Dave Connell: Aw, what chance have they got against all this? They gotta fight for a place to play, fight for a little extra somethin' to eat, fight for everything. They get used to fightin'. "Enemies of society" it says in the papers... why not? What've they got to be so friendly about?

Note: In the film Fierce Creatures (1997) Kevin Kline as Vince McCain (imitating his father, Ron) says, "You're no son of mine, you miserable little worm! You've been a disappointment to me since the day your mother farted you out of her womb!"

Dead End - Movie Poster

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