Gallant Sons Film Details
Overview: Two childhood friends have a falling out because of their fathers’ occupations, which lands one father in jail.
Tagline: Mystery! Romance! Fighting Sons on a perilious man-hunt
Review: Gallant Sons (1940) ** 1/2 (out of 4) Decent teen drama has Johnny (Gene Reynolds) having a fall out with his best friend By (Jackie Cooper) after his father is sent to prison for murder. Johnny believes that By’s father, a newspaper man, mistook some evidence and was the main reason his father was sent up. By, wanting to save their friendship, comes up with an idea to try and see if his father really was guilty or not. GALLANT SONS isn’t a great movie and there are countless plot holes in it but I think fans of the cast members are going to have a good time. It seems like MGM wanted to get just about every kid star on their lot with the exception of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney who were off doing bigger projects at the time. Not only do we get Reynolds and Cooper but there’s also Bonita Granville from Warner’s Nancy Drew series, William Tracy and Leo Gorcey who was doing time before the East Side Kids. I’ve always enjoyed watching these actors in their own films so it was another treat seeing them all together even if the screenplay doesn’t hold up too well. The direction is also a tad bit off the mark because it’s never quite clear if they’re wanting this to be a dark drama or some light comedy with a few dramatic elements. There are moments where we get all sorts of silly slapstick including a scene where the boys are trailing the possible real killer and one of them falls down a flight of steps after seeing a black cat. These comedy bits really don’t work too well but the drama is pretty good because the actors sell that. I thought Cooper and Reynolds were both quite good in their roles and the best moments of the film happen early on after the father is in jail and the two have a falling out. I’ve always enjoyed Granville’s performances and it always shocked me she was never able to get out of these “B” roles because she was a fine little actress and she also had the looks. Gorcey offers up the type of performance that you’d expect from him but I’m guessing this is because he really couldn’t give any other type. His “Dead End” type performance goes against what the other kids are acting but his fans will still get a kick out of him. GALLANT SONS ends in a rather silly manor but fans of the stars will at least be entertained throughout, which is a lot more than most movies can say.
Duration: 76 min
Also known as: Gallant Sons,Hijos valientes,Filhos de Brio,Fighting Sons