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Men of Boys Town

Men of Boys Town(1941)


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According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, actor Dennis Murphy was to have been in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Ben Lewis is listed as the film editor in all of the Hollywood Reporter production charts, but only Frederick Y. Smith is credited on the screen. Although some exteriors were shot on location at the real Boys Town near Omaha, NE, many of the exteriors and interiors of the facility were recreated on M-G-M's Stage 15. A special issue of the Boys Town Times newspaper was included in the film's presskit. Articles in the paper indicated that many of settings of the picture, including the auditorium, were recreated to emulate the originals as closely as possible. Another article noted that the character of "Flip," played by Darryl Hickman in the film, was based on an actual seven-year-old boy who committed several robberies before being rehabilitated at Boys Town. Hollywood Reporter news items noted that radio programs were aired coast-to-coast on April 2, 1941 to promote the film, and that "key city theaters" would also air the broadcast.
       This film was a sequel to M-G-M's successful 1938 feature, Boys Town (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.0465). According to news items in trade publications, M-G-M agreed to make a sequel after donations to Boys Town declined because the 1938 film gave the impression that the institution no longer had financial problems. Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Bobs Watson and several of the "boys" in Men of Boys Town recreated their roles from the original, which was also directed by Norman Taurog. Lee J. Cobb took over the role of "Dave Morris" from Henry Hull. Though that character was supposed to be an older man, Cobb was only twenty-eight when he played the role. Reviews were mixed for the sequel, and many compared it disfavorably with the original.