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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Teens > Boys Of The Bowery - The East End Kids Collection

Boys Of The Bowery – The East Side Kids Collection


Picture: C-     Sound: C     Extras: D     B-Movies: C+



The group of actors known as The Bowery Boys, Dead End Kids and East Side Kids has a popular run of 21 years, yet they are not much discussed, collected or celebrated today except for a diehard crowd of fans.  Starting in the Samuel Goldwyn film Dead End (reviewed elsewhere on this site), they moved to Warner Brothers to star in a few more feature film classics before original cast member were joined by new in a series at Universal that ran from 1938 – 1943.  However, it was the even smaller Monogram who launched a low-budget series in 1940 under the East Side name and they had one of their rare, consistent hits.  Boys Of the Bowery – The East Side Kids Collection offers 10 of the 22 Monogram films produced by Sam Katzman.  The films are as follows:


1)     Mr. Wise Guy (1942)

2)     Flying Wild (1941)

3)     Smart Alecks (1942)

4)     ‘Neath Brooklyn Bridge (1942)

5)     Kid Dynamite (1943)

6)     Pride Of The Bowery (1941)

7)     Bowery Blitzkrieg (1941)

8)     Million Dollar Kid (1944)

9)     Clancy Street Boys (1943)

10)  Let’s Get Tough! (1942)



Though entertaining, the films seem confused as to the socio-economic status of the Kids and who responsible they are or are not for their predicament.  They are automatically considered troublemakers, but seem like “ideal conformists” or "good kids" in this age of Hip Hop, making one realize that at the time, power-mad and loser adults did not realize how good they had it.  Why, if they just had money and real guidance, they would not have to be on the streets.  However, the implications of that are for another essay.


What is good even when the scripts are as limited as the budgets, is they are having fun, there are a few laughs and there is a certain joy in what is happening.  The latter is something so missing from just about any equivalent today including bad TV shows where all the happy teens seem to be drugged into a phony happiness is a pleasant change.  Though no masterworks of comedy, the films have their moments and hold up as some of Monograms more interesting output.


The 1.33 X 1 image is sadly muddy, poor and ill defined in these print, with the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono barely better.  The sound is down a few generations for a series that was already over 60 years old and made on a lower budget.  However, this may be one of the only ways to get these films, as Monogram titles rarely surface at any DVD company.  There are no extras, but a documentary on the films and the cast would be an interesting idea.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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