Drama that takes place in the mostly Irish slums of New York City. Jackie Cooper stars as the sixteen year old leader of a street gang. Marjorie Main plays Jackie’s long suffering mother.
It’s Halloween. Chuck Brennan (Jackie Cooper) and his gang pull tricks on the police and fire department. Chuck always sends the black member of the gang,Spike (Paul White), to make phony phone calls. He’s finally caught by beat cop Rourke (Robert Emmett O’Connor),
The gang gets to sit out detention at the police station before finally being released. Chuck’s mother Mary (Marjorie Main) is sick of her husband Fog Horn Brennan doing nothing with his life. Chuck thinks he’s a big deal with the city administration. Brennan’s friend Tim Farley isn’t a favorite of Marys’ or Chucks’.
The neighborhood stops what it’s doing when Young Nora (Maureen O’Connor) sings “Did Your Mother Come From Ireland?” Coming into the neighborhood is the wealthy Julie Stone. She just inherited the building where Chuck and Nora live.
Nora’s mother has TB and Dr.Allan (Bill Elliot) arranges to have her taken to a sanitarium. He resents Julie and thinks she’s just looking at how the other half lives and not caring. They’ll soon straighten that out.
Outside as the ambulance arrives for Nora’s mother a rival gang shows up. They all wait for the ambulance to leave and then Chuck’s gang gets into a brawl with them. Chuck is crowned with a bottle and has to see Dr.Allan.
Chuck thinks he’s a big deal and gets Nora a job singing at Pete’s Grotto. He lies and says she’s eighteen. Pete gets her a tight dress and she sings a couple torch songs. Then in walks Rourke with a couple old lady reformers. That ends that gig. Looks like Nora is headed for an orphanage. Julie saves the day by sending her to a private school.
At their clubhouse Chuck is planning to rob Julie of the cash she carries to pay for things like rugs, lamps and other items for the apartment building. He tells Spike to pull off the robbery. He refuses and Chuck agrees he’s too young for something like that and tells him to leave.
The rival gang shows up and the fight is on again. Chuck and the other leader are out in the street. A truck is bearing down on them. Spike tries to warn him but is run down and killed. Mary tells Chuck he’s a loser and nothing like Spike. Chuck goes to see the local ward leader for a job and gets a dose of truth when he discovers is father is just a gopher.
The movie goes on to see if Chuck will walk the straight and narrow or hook up with gangster Blackie Davis (Matty Fain). This is a good drama and never gets preachy or sappy.
Marjorie Main was famous for her comedy roles especially as Ma Kettle.
This was Maureen O’Connor’s only movie.
Bill Elliot became famous as a movie cowboy.