Runaway rich kid Freddie Vincent (Jackie Cooper) and canine pal Duke (Rin Tin Tin Jr.) may feel unwanted at home, but that all changes when they cross paths with brutal gang leader Joe Calerno. Making their meet-up in Tough Guy an unexpected treat are three outstanding trump cards. First, Calerno is played by the always-welcome Joseph Calleia (in one of eight 1936 credits, seven for menacing acting roles and one for co-writing Robin Hood of El Dorado). Second, rather than making Calerno relentlessly evil, the screenwriters gave the mobster a soft spot for boy and dog, allowing Calleia a cocky warmth and unselfish valor he rarely got to play, particularly when squeezed between the cops and his gang of confederates who are holding Freddie hostage. Finally, befitting his lineage, Rin Tin Tin Jr., even after a gunshot wound, can outrun, outwit and out tough anybody, anytime. Since Cooper spent much of his earlier Oscar-nominated turn in Skippy scrounging for money for a dog license, it's great that Tough Guy matches him with one of the screen's best.