Cover of "Boys Town"

Cover of Boys Town

Boys Town is a hard film to review for me because although I thought it was a great story, and Spencer Tracy’s fine Oscar worthy portrayal of Father Flannigan was good, but there was one element that almost ruined the film for me. I am talking about Mickey Rooney’s performance as Whitey Marsh.

I have seen a few Mickey Rooney films and know that he can be quite a ham, but here his over-acting really affected my enjoyment of the film. The part really could have used a little subtlety instead of Mickey trying to steal every scene when he really didn’t have to. Perhaps I could put it down to him just being 18 at the time he made this film BUT… he had been acting in vaudeville and movies all his life so there shouldn’t be an excuse. Perhaps because Tracy’s portrayal of Father Flannigan is very understated the director wanted to have the Mickster play his part way OTT.

The film is very good if you can overlook Rooney’s over-acting.

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