Code of the Streets

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Code of the Streets
Directed byHarold Young
Produced byBurt Kelly
Written byArthur T. Horman
StarringThe Little Tough Guys
Frankie Thomas
Harry Carey
Music byFrank Skinner
Charles Previn
CinematographyElwood Bredell
Edited byMaurice Wright
Distributed byUniversal Studios
Release date
  • April 14, 1939 (1939-04-14)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

Code of the Streets is a 1939 Universal Studios film starring The Little Tough Guys.


Convicted on circumstantial evidence, Tommy Shay (Paul Fix), a young product of the Front Street slums, is sentenced to die for the murder of police lieutenant Carson (Monte Montague). When Denver Collins (Marc Lawrence), Tommy's only alibi, mysteriously disappears, Tommy's younger brother Danny (James McCallion) and his gang of alley kids (The Little Tough Guys) determine to find a way to save Tommy from the electric chair. Lieutenant Lewis (Harry Carrey), Tommy's arresting officer, also believes that the boy is innocent and tries to get the case reopened. For his efforts, Lewis is demoted to patrolman, prompting his son Bob (Frankie Thomas), a radio bug with an ambition to become a detective, to initiate his own investigation by which he hopes to find the real murderer and reinstate his father.

While searching for Collins on Front Street, Bob meets Danny and after he fibs that his father is a gangster, the boys join forces to track down Carson's killer. Acting on a tip, Danny and Bob visit a gambling club operated by Chick Foster (Leon Ames) and warn Foster that the police have reopened the Carson murder case and are looking for Denver Collins. In response, Foster begins to act strangely, giving the boys a look at his henchman, Halstead, whom they suspect is Collins.

When the boys discover that Bob is really a cop's son, they beat him up but have a change of heart upon learning that Bob's father was arrested while trying to help Tommy. Joining forces once again, the boys locate Halstead's hideout and lure Foster to the spot with a phony telegram. Eavesdropping by means of a Dictaphone, they learn that Halstead is really Collins and that he was hired by Foster to kill Carson. Overcome with fear, Halstead demands that Foster pay him off, and in the ensuing argument, Foster kills Halstead and hurries back to his club. Refusing to give up, Bob follows Foster and, after connecting a microphone attached to a radio in Foster's office, broadcasts a fake news flash telling how Halstead made a full confession before his death. Attempting to escape, Foster hails a cab in the alley which has been commandeered by Danny and the gang. After the boys force a confession from Foster, Officer Lewis arrives to arrest the gambler, and all ends happily as Tommy is freed, Lewis is reinstated as lieutenant, and the kids decide to go straight.


The Little Tough Guys[edit]

Additional cast[edit]

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