Brown is the color of the uniforms worn by the residents of a British borstal (boy's reformatory). Jack Warner plays the governor (warden) of the institution, struggling to maintain an even keel with his tempestuous charges. The film aims for a veneer of reality by using an optical camera device to blend actual backgrounds with studio sets, a special effect that works about half the time. The Boys in Brown was based on a British stage play by Reginald Beckwith. Perhaps it was more effective on stage, where the advanced ages of the "boys" were not quite so detectable.