Wild Boys of the Road (Wellman, 1933)

Wild Boys of the Road (William A. Wellman, 1933)

Wild Boys of the Road is Wellman’s reflection on the Great Depression, focused on its effects on young adults. Tommy and Eddie’s parents are without jobs, so the boys leave home to be less of a burden on them financially. The film follows their travels across the country as they look for work and meet up with other adolescents in similar situations. With my love of trains, I definitely enjoyed that a large portion of the film is set on trains and railroad tracks. The sense of camaraderie was also a strength. The dialogue, however, was terrible. It would have felt a lot rougher had the characters talked like real people with less ‘aw shucks’ and ‘gee gollys’. The film’s conclusion (which I read Wellman was forced to change) is also somewhat weak. I believe in hope, so I wasn’t completely annoyed by the end, but it does take a bit of a shift in tone, and it’s obvious it wasn’t intended to be.  7/10


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