Call a Messenger

Call a Messenger is a 1939 Universal Studios film that starred Billy Halop and Huntz Hall of the Dead End Kids and several of the Little Tough Guys.[1] It was directed by Arthur Lubin.[2]

Call a Messenger
Directed byArthur Lubin
Produced byKen Goldsmith (associate producer)
Written byArthur T. Horman
Based onstory by Michael Kraike
Sally Sandlin
StarringThe Dead End Kids
Little Tough Guys
Music byHans J. Salter
CinematographyElwood Bredell
Edited byCharles Maynard
Distributed byUniversal Studios
Release date
November 4, 1939
Running time
65 min
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

In terms of chronological order, this was released after the Dead End Kids film, The Angels Wash Their Faces.

Plot

Jimmy Hogan and his gang are caught robbing a post office. Jimmy is given a choice to either go to reform school or work as a messenger boy for the post office as punishment. Jimmy decides to be a messenger boy, and soon drags his pals into the job. The kids eventually enjoy their jobs, especially when their new boss, Frances O'Neill, turns out to be quite attractive.

After becoming friends with fellow messenger boy Bob Prichard, Jimmy decides to hook Bob up with his sister, Marge. He feels that Bob is a much better match for Marge then a local gangster who has been spending too much time with her. Pretty soon, Jimmy's brother Ed returns home from prison. At first, Jimmy is glad to have his brother back home, but pretty soon, he and Ed get mixed up with some gangsters who plan on robbing the post office.

Cast

The Dead End Kids

The Little Tough Guys

Additional Cast

Production

The film was based on an original story by Michael Kraike and Sally Sandlin. Universal purchased it in April 1939.[3] In July 1939 the studio said Arthur Lubin would direct it with the Dead End Kids.[4] Filming started early August.[5]

Dead End Kids Billy Halop and Huntz Hall returned to Universal beginning with this film. Universal decided to pair the Dead End Kids with the Little Tough Guys. Pretty soon, most of the other Dead End Kids would also sign on. In this film, the billing appears as: Billy Halop and Huntz Hall of the Dead End Kids and the Little Tough Guys.

Most of the Little Tough Guys returned for this film, reprising the roles they had in their previous films. The only regular Little Tough Guy who did not return for this film was 'Monk' (Charles Duncan). Ironically, at one point in this film, Jimmy's sister makes a reference to Monk, even though he is absent.

Reception

The Los Angeles Times called it "entertaining... acting is lively and expressive, direction smooth and clear."[6]

References

  1. Call a Messenger Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 7, Iss. 73, (Jan 1, 1940): 19.
  2. Vagg, Stephen (14 September 2019). "The Cinema of Arthur Lubin". Diabolique Magazine.
  3. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD New York Times 22 Apr 1939: 15.
  4. DRAMA: Los Angeles Times 29 July 1939: A9.
  5. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD New York Times 29 July 1939: 20.
  6. 'Tough Guys' Go Straight Los Angeles Times 14 Sep 1939: A18.
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