6 user 3 critic

East of the River (1940)

Passed | | Crime, Drama | 9 November 1940 (USA)
Two troublesome boys grow into very different men, one becoming a hoodlum and the other embracing college but both are in-love with the same girl.


Alfred E. Green


Fred Niblo Jr. (screenplay), John Fante (story "Mama Ravioli") | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Garfield ... Joseph Enrico 'Joe' Lorenzo
Brenda Marshall ... Laurie Romayne
Marjorie Rambeau ... Mama Teresa Lorenzo
George Tobias ... Tony Scaduto
William Lundigan ... Nicholas Antonio 'Nick' Lorenzo
Moroni Olsen ... Judge R.D. Davis
Douglas Fowley ... Cy Turner
Jack La Rue ... Frank 'Frisco' Scarfi (as Jack LaRue)
Jack Carr Jack Carr ... 'No Neck' Griswold
Paul Guilfoyle ... Balmy
Russell Hicks ... Warden
Charley Foy ... Customer (as Charles Foy)
Ralph Volkie Ralph Volkie ... Smith, Turner's Henchman
Jimmy O'Gatty Jimmy O'Gatty ... Turner's Henchman
Robert Homans ... Patrolman Shanahan


Troubled youths Joe and Nick Lorenzo grow into very different men: Joe a small-time hoodlum and Nick an honored college graduate. When Nick falls for Joe's girl Laurie, trouble erupts between the two men and also with the gang that has it in for Joe. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


New York's "other side of the tracks" (original poster) See more »


Crime | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 November 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bad Boy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in Tucson Sunday 29 July 1956 on KDWI (Channel 9), in Cincinnati Sunday 5 August 1956 on WKRC (Channel 12), in Miami Saturday 22 September 1956 on WTVJ (Channel 4), in Boston Tuesday 25 September 1956 on WBZ (Channel 4), in Phoenix Monday 1 October 1956 on KVAR (Channel 12), in San Francisco Friday 5 October 1956 on KRON (Channel 4), in Indianapolis Saturday 13 October 1956 on WFBM (Channel 6), in Spokane Monday 3 December 1956 on KREM (Channel 2), and in Buffalo Saturday 8 December 1956 on WBEN (Channel 4). See more »


Marjorie Rambeau's Italian accent is so shaky that, after the graduation ceremony, she tells a well-wisher "Gracias" ("thank you" in Spanish) instead of the Italian "Grazie." See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: John Garfield (1962) See more »


The Sidewalks of New York
Music by Charles Lawlor
Played during the opening tour bus scenes
See more »

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User Reviews

Good cast makes routine crime drama watchable
4 November 2003 | by BobLibSee all my reviews

Gotta admit it, no studio was as good at making crime movies as Warner Brothers during the 1930's. With Cagney, Bogie, and, here, John Garfield, there were fewer actors at any one studio who were as good at being bad. And that's what makes "East of the River" so watchable. The performances help to turn what's basically a routine crime drama into a watchable, second-string noir treasure.

As to the basic plot, that's been done again and again in endless variations. Warners even used it at least a half a dozen times. Boyhood best friends/brothers get into some sort of juvenile scrape. One goes "good," the other "bad." Both meet years later and thereby hangs the tale. However, when the boys are played by Garfield and popular 30's second-lead William Lundigan and the girl they both love by Brenda (Mrs. William Holden) Marshall, the good performances that result raise the story above the standard clichés. Almost as good, albeit with a lot of stock "Italian" mannerisms ("You a good-a boy!"), is Marjorie Rambeau as the boys' mother. Rambeau was one of those actresses who could shine in a broom closet, playing either the star's mother or a world-weary chippie (Catch her her in 1931's "The Secret Six" sometime) with equal finesse, transcending whatever stereotyped qualities may have been in the script. Also excellent are old Warners standby George Tobias as an excitable "Italian" waiter, Douglas Fowley as a particularly despicable heavy, and Moroni Olsen playing yet another of the authority figure roles he always did so well.

Okay, "East of the River" may not be in the same league with "Little Caesar," "The Public Enemy," "Angels with Dirty Faces," or even "You Can't Get Away with Murder." What it IS, though, is an excellent little (75 minutes) crime melodrama of the old school that is definitely worth a look.

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