Wild Boys of the Road (1933)


It’s the Great Depression and young boys (and a few girls) are running away from home to lessen the burden on their poor families. This movie follows two boys, played by Frankie Darro and Edwin Phillips, who hop aboard train after train trying to find food and work. Along the way, they befriend a girl played by Dorothy Coonan Wellman. The three become part of an ever-growing horde the press label ‘Wild Boys of the Road’. This ragtag group of youngsters band together, forging a community, dodging railway personnel, escaping the police, surviving hunger and sustaining injury. It’s hard not to get caught up in their quest for survival. The three-way friendship is the heart of the movie. It reminded me of director William Wellman’s earlier Oscar-winning film, Wings. The relationships develop naturally, and without any forced sentiment. After the climax, when things are at their darkest, there is a pat courtroom scene that resolves everything a little too pleasantly, but to be honest, I don’t think I could have taken a sad ending. This is a sweet film with a good heart. With Sterling Holloway.

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