Saturday, 2 August 2014

Gangster's Boy (1938)

Jackie Cooper was nominated for a best actor Oscar at the age of 9, but like many child stars he found the transition to more adult roles quite awkward.  He would eventually experience a career renewal, but the late 30s and early 40s were not a good time for him.  Which probably explains why he's in this tedious chore of a film.

Cooper plays Larry, an honour roll student and star athlete.  He's an all round swell guy, for all he doesn't come from the right side of the tracks, and is pretty much an all round straight arrow.  The only thing he misses from his life is his father, who 'travels a lot' for work.

But after 5 long years, dad's back in town!  Of course, this isn't quite as swell as Larry thinks it is, since ol' pop is a former bootlegger, and the revelation of his shady past soon has the previously popular Larry on the outs with most of his peers and their parents.  This despite the fact that he himself is as Dudley Do Right as you can be.

Of course, Larry's very nobility of character will soon land him in further trouble as he takes the fall for a friend who accidentally hits a cyclist while driving.  The friend is the son of a judge, you see, and the accident might harm his reputation and his future.  By now, Larry figures his own prospects can't get any worse.

I bet you can guess who gets appointed to hear Larry's case, and I bet you can guess how everything gets resolved.  And you will do so much quicker than the seemingly interminable 80 minutes of this film.

Don't waste your time.

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