Boys Town

You know better than that.
Do I, Father Flanagan?
You have a string of newspapers.
You get reports on human derelicts.

You know the percentage of boys
who survive institutions.

Surely you must know, you above all men.
And you have no right to hinder me
in helping children.

That's pretty stiff, Father.
What little I've done, I've done on nothing.
These boys, thieves some of them,
have gone without clothes...

they've even gone without food,
but not one of them has deserted.

Not one, because they know
what I'm trying to do to help them.

But there are some impossible
young beasts who have to be manacled.

Look at this.
"Eleven-year-old boy convicted.
Guilty of murder in the second degree.

"Jury renders verdict
after 35 minutes deliberation.

"Court will sentence him to life in prison."
A semi-equipped young savage
who's right where he ought to be.

You'll admit that, won't you?
This boy saw his mother
being brutally beaten by a drunken father.

So he took a gun and killed him.
Suppose a man kills because his wife's
been unfaithful: Temporary insanity.

But an 11-year-old: Just a savage.
What do you want of me?
I want your help for homeless boys.
I want you to let the world know
what I'm trying to do.

- No, I'm afraid I can't do that.
- Why not?

Because I don't believe in
what you're trying to do.

The very foundation is false.
"No such thing as a bad boy."
That's just a catch phrase,
sentimental nonsense.

Of course you know you're flying in
the face of the very best of public opinion.

I've seen you do that.
You lead public opinion.

On my convictions.
You want me to throw them
out the window.

A whole lot of good people
feel just as I do...

and we're not un-Christian monsters.
Well, if I'm right, you're pretty close to it.
And so far, I've proven my case.

Mr. Hargraves, when you got into trouble
at 11 or 12 years of age...

you had your mother or you had your
father to put their arms around you...

to talk things over with.
Can you imagine the fright
and the Ioneliness of a boy...

without that love and understanding?
This poor kid...
in prison for life.
I want a home for them,
where they can stay...

and where they can learn.
A town for boys...