6.3/10
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46 user 14 critic

Hell's House (1932)

Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.

Director:

Howard Higgin

Writers:

Howard Higgin (story), Paul Gangelin (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Peggy Gardner
Pat O'Brien ... Matt Kelly
Junior Durkin ... Jimmy Mason (as Junior Dirkin)
Frank Coghlan Jr. ... Shorty (as Junior Coughlin)
Emma Dunn ... Emma Clark
Charley Grapewin ... Henry Clark (as Charles Grapewin)
Morgan Wallace ... Frank Gebhardt
Hooper Atchley ... Captain of the Guard
Wallis Clark Wallis Clark ... Judge Robinson (as Wallace Clark)
James A. Marcus ... Superintendant Charles Thompson (as James Marcus)
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Storyline

Jimmy Mason idolizes bootlegger Matt Kelly who is dating Peggy. Unwilling to squeal on his idol, Jimmy winds up in a cruel reformatory where a new- found friend is dying from abuse. Jimmy escapes to report the abuse. Matt and Peggy help him once he has escaped. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 January 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Casa Infernal See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was first telecast on New York City's pioneer television station W2XBS 12 June 1940. See more »

Quotes

Peggy Gardner: If you'd give the kid a chance, Kelly, he might amount to something, instead of always thinking about yourself.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in All About Bette (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Needs Cleaning, But Not Bad
19 August 2015 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

Jimmy idolizes bootlegger Matt, and when he refuses to implicate his friend, he is sent to reform school. He befriends Shorty, a boy with a heart condition, and escapes to let the world know about the brutal conditions.

Mordaunt Hall observed, "The attempt to pillory reform schools is hardly adult in its attack, but it has a few moderately interesting interludes. The direction of this film is old-fashioned. Pat O'Brien gives a forced performance. Young Durkin's playing is sincere and likewise that of Bette Davis as Peggy."

The biggest problem with this film is how poorly the physical film itself has held up. The Library of Congress has done a great job cleaning it, but it remains a bit of a mess, particularly in the first act. Hopefully some day a better print will be found. The story itself is decent, and tells another angle on the whole gangster theme: what of those who are not gangsters but keep their mouths shut on their behalf?


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