No squealers, that's the rule. And Claude Pierce, a child of privilege eager to throw in with two rough-and-tumble lower East Siders, aims to live by it. But through their adventures the trio of would-be toughs discovers another rule. It's harder to go straight than to live a life of crime. That's why The Devil Is a Sissy.
This full-hearted drama from the era of Dead End unites a trio of top 1930s child stars for the only time: Freddie Bartholomew (David Copperfield), Jackie Cooper (The Champ) and Mickey Rooney. All three shine. "But it is Mickey Rooney, the Puck of A Midsummer Night's Dream, who penetrates beyond the script and emerges as a living study of Gig, the son of a murderer" (Frank S. Nugent, The New York Times).
THE DEVIL IS A SISSY deserves an historical footnote as the only film to team three of the biggest child stars of the 1930s: Mickey Rooney, Jackie Cooper and Freddie Bartholomew. Bartholomew is a wealthy young English boy attending a New York "magnet" school, whose students are drawn from all walks of life. He is befriended by slum kid Rooney, son of a recently executed gangster, who in his own roughneck fashion helps Bartholomew to "assimilate" (Translation: He helps him to steal and evade the cops). Cooper is a middle-class gang leader with whom Rooney frequently clashes. Freddie attempts to fit in with his new chums by masterminding a break-in at a Park Avenue townhouse. None too soon, all three boys end up in juvenile court.
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