boweryboy2Starring Dennis O’Keefe, Louise Campbell, Jimmy Lydon, Helen Vinson, Roger Pryor, Paul Hurst, Frederick Burton

Directed by William Morgan

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

In the grand scheme of things, Bowery Boy is just a forgettable piece of entertainment that time forgot. It’s a well-made B-picture, and it is never once boring in its short 53-minute runtime, but it lacks that special quality which makes an older film attract new fans over the years. Bowery Boy is not unique in this situation; there are literally hundreds of films like this that fade away from our collective consciousness with each passing moment. So what caused me to dredge up this film that never even rated a VHS release? Sam Fuller.

Bowery Boy tells the story of Oklahoman Dr. Tom O’Hara (Dennis O’Keefe) who lands a job managing a public health clinic in the Bowery neighborhood of New York City. The people there are poor, and the streets are filled with shady individuals and a whole mess of young hoodlums. On his first day on the job, O’Hara is hit in the face with a hurled tomato and the kids completely strip his car of anything worth selling. When he should be angry at the injustice of the situation, O’Hara is the ultimate selfless doctor. He doesn’t care much for his pride or his possessions, as long as he is able to serve the members of the community. His confidence that he can win their respect through quality medicine is strong. But things really start to turn sour when a gangster asks O’Hara to approve delivery of rotten food products to the Bowery. O’Hara flatly refuses, but as we all know from watching films, gangsters have ways of getting what they want.

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