Other Sellers on Amazon
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Boys Town (DVD)
Spencer Tracy, in the role for which he won his second Academy Award, stars as Father Flanagan, the real-life founder of Boys Town. Idealistic, young priest Father Flanagan struggles to achieve his dream of creating a place where tough, young city boys may have the chance at a normal life. He founds a farm school run by a community of boys. But the idyllic community is almost destroyed by a young thug (Mickey Rooney), who eventually becomes a role model and leader of the boys' community.]]>
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
And "Boys Town" is the sort of old B&W Hollywood Catholicism, like "On the Waterfront" or "The Song of Bernadette," that simply glows with life on the screen regardless of the passage of time. Based on the true story of Father Edward Flanagan's founding of "Boys Town" for homeless and unwanted children in 1917 Nebraska, the movie won Academy Awards for its story and for Best Actor (Spencer Tracy as Flanagan) in 1938, when the real Father Flanagan was still alive to see it. But it still holds up well today as a timeless story of undisciplined boyhood getting refined by the love of one's fellow man. Its depiction of struggling children in an economically depressed United States (1917 in the film, 1938 when it was made) feels particularly topical in a post-Occupy Wall Street world.
The film contains great child acting (particularly Mickey Rooney as a troubled youth at the story's center) in addition to the strikingly compassionate performance by Spencer Tracy, who is so natural in this Oscar-winning role that he does not appear to be acting. Although he's playing a larger-than-life Catholic priest, Tracy's character is so subtle and understated (his eyes do much of the acting at times) that his few moments of action carry tremendous power, revealing a deeply rooted determination and dedication in Father Flanagan. It's one of the most amazing performances in the history of American cinema, made all the more remarkable by its effortless lack of flash. Tracy's quiet dignity and grace make a nice contrast with Rooney's frenetic insecurity, making their scenes together a real highlight.
The disc itself (two-sided and dual-layered) is one of the best-packaged releases I've seen in a long time, providing ALL of the extras one would desire (and rarely sees anymore) from the DVD format. Extras include the theatrical trailer and a documentary promo on the real Boys Town featuring footage of the real Father Flanagan, including a look at the real Boys Town today. A vintage radio program featuring Tracy and Rooney is also included. But what truly sets this remarkably affordable disc apart is the back side, which includes the full-length 1941 sequel "Men of Boys Town" featuring Tracy and Rooney reprising their roles. These features make the disc vastly more satisfying than many so-called "special editions" that omit nearly everything but trailers for other films. Personally, I found "Men of Boys Town" vastly inferior to the original film, but that's precisely why I appreciate having it on the back side of this disc rather than having to purchase it elsewhere. It's not a film that would easily merit its own DVD release or do more than take up warehouse space.
Altogether, "Boys Town" is vintage Hollywood of the best kind, and vintage Hollywood Catholicism in particular. Despite the priest-protagonist, it's got a wide appeal because there is hardly anything explicitly Catholic in it, at least outside the love of God that subtly motivates Father Flanagan's love of neighbor. The inspiring growth of Rooney's character, the sincerity of the Boys Town enterprise itself, the sweetness of the child actors like Bobs Watson as Pee-Wee, and the determined kindness of Father Flanagan are so thoroughly inspiring that only the hardest of hard-hearted souls will resist the impulse to shed tears during many of the film's big moments.
A bonus to this DVD is that it included the sequel Men of Boys Town. Criticized for being too dark, and not living up the first one, here is my take on that. Yes, the overall story is a little darker as far as facing some of the things homeless or wayward boys had to live with back then, does it live up to the first one, yes and no. I found Men of Boys Town to be equally as rewarding to watch as the first. It is a story of the boys mostly Mickey Rooney's character coming to age, we get to see what kind of person he has grown to be while at Boys Town. I think this film took a bit more dramatic license, and this is where I think people start to criticize. Father Flanagan is still the kind, and warm guy, but this time he takes that hard edge a little further, only because he is forced too and it plays beautifully. (I am not sure a real priest would actually punch someone, but you never know). I wouldn't fault any man, priest or not for standing up for what is right for a child. Spencer Tracy's magic is once again very apparant in the scene where the Maitlands are trying to adopt Whitey Marsh (Mickey Rooney's character). Tracy's body language speaks volumes, you can hear his thoughts saying everything he wants to say but can't. An internal struggle is at play. One could watch Men of Boys Town on its own and find it enjoyable, but you can't possibly understand the depth of emotion played by these characters if you haven't seen Boys Town first. Viewing Boys Town first is a must in my opinion. The only true downfall I found in Men of Boys Town was the replacement of Dave Morris' character which was initially played by Henry Hull who did a fabulous job, but was replaced by Lee J. Cobb. Cobb did fine with the role, but I still feel a bit of the character was lost with this change. It is unknown why the change was made, perhaps Hull was simply unavailable.
I am perfectly happy with my purchase, and love that you get both movies with this purchase. I read on the internet that Men of Boys town is not available separately on DVD. I give both of these movies five stars for both Tracy's performance and entertainment value.
I think most young children will need a parent helping to understand the necessity of more extreme measures needed for children of such rough and sad background.
I only noticed one bit of modernist (the part about gave before meals), but easy to correct and explain with children.