The word Bowery in a film title pretty much means one is about to partake in a seventy minute adventure with Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall and the Bowery Boys up to their usual pranks and get rich quick schemes. Although the low budget Bowery at Midnight with Bela Lugosi pokes a huge hole in that line of thinking.
This time out the gang finds out that Bernard Gorcey who plays Louie the owner of their local hangout and Ice Cream Parlor needs help and has to come up with $300. The boys muster up $4.95. just a wee bit short. In fine fashion Leo launches in to his best car salesman routines with the gang as they try to land $1000 for an old wreck. You might say it doesn’t work out to well.
When leading lady Teala Loring snaps a photo of Huntz in front of a local bank she accidentally times it with a bank heist. No she doesn’t catch the robbers on photograph. What she gets is a loopy looking Huntz holding the bag of money as he hands it back to the robbers off camera. That photo turns out to be quite valuable to the gang of thugs and their mastermind Ace-Deuce. Love that name. It’s played by legendary Sheldon Leonard who did his fare share of these gangland roles with the tough guy talk throughout his long and successful career.
The boys put Huntz on ice while Leonard has a couple of his thugs plant thousand dollar bills on him to ensure the cops and our intrepid detective O’Malley played by James Burke are sure he’s there man.
The fun escalates when Leo and his “gang” go gangster in true Cagney/Bogart/Robinson fashion He even continually flips a coin much like George Raft did many years previously in Scarface. To the strings of Frankie and Johnny the boys enter Leonard’s nightclub along with Miss Loring as Leo’s “dame.” Leo’s tough guy act is first rate as he does nothing but growl and stare at the chests of all the bigger men that surround him yet are deathly afraid of the pint sized gangland wannabe. That is until they piece the whole thing together. Leo wants the cash from the bank job to get Huntz off the hook. Perhaps even a reward to save poor Louis and his ice cream parlor.
In order to do just that he’ll have to contend with “Moose” played by the enormous William Wee Willie Davis. It’s a comical farce as he and Huntz tangle with the behemoth but are sure to get the upper hand before the fadeout and bring Leonard to justice.
This Monogram Studios outing with the boys was directed by apprenticing Phil Karlson who would go on to do a number of first rate flicks including Kansas City Confidential. A personal favorite.
For me the Bowery Boys generally offer some laughs and much like the 3 Stooges mean well at heart and somehow deliver right over wrong.
This flick is in my collection thanks to the sets put out by the folks at the Warner Archive.