But Universal blocked it from appearing in American cinemas due to all the shameless plagiarism. And in a universe where Orca could go around un-sued, that's saying a lot.
Hollywood Made Dozens Of Movies About Street Kids
Movies have sold us on a lot of weird team-ups: a gang of motley superheroes in The Avengers, a troop of old mercenaries in The Expendables, a litany of dying careers in Mamma Mia, etc.
And it all started with underage New York street toughs.
United ArtistsThis was in the days when poor kids had to wrestle all their clothing away from packs of wild dogs.
In 1937, United Artists adapted the hit Broadway play Dead End, about a tough band of city punks who got kicked out of the school of hard knocks for being too rowdy. The studio hired the original Broadway cast, but sold their contracts before the movie was released because the young ruffians method-acted too hard and drove a truck through a soundstage. But it turned out that United Artists were the ones who trucked this deal up, because Dead End was a massive hit. After its box office success, Warner Brothers snapped up the cast, branded them "the Dead End Kids," and launched their own dirty-faced franchise.
Warner Bros. PicturesSeen here marking the last time when the “kids” part of the title seemed even remotely plausible.
The Dead End Kids starred in seven movies between 1937 and 1939. And they were mostly quite good! Humphrey Bogart gave an acclaimed performance as an evil Bugs Bunny in the original Dead End. Another Dead End movie, Angels With Dirty Faces, turned out to be career-defining for James Cagney, who was nominated for an Oscar for his sensational turn as a gangster who tries to save the kids from following in his footsteps (it's a terrible fate to grow up to be James Cagney).