I was a nerd in school....an uber-nerd who skipped classes on occasion and even got drunk on liquor filled cherry chocolates from the German Delicatessin just before having to go for confession. Yup I went to a Catholic school and my high school was run by priests and some nuns. I secretly wanted to be a juvenile delinquent because they were outsiders who didn’t give a #@*%! I can’t wait to see what the others have chosen for this week. Head on over to Wandering Through The Shelves to see what the others have chosen.
1. BLACKBOARD JUNGLE-1955
This is a forgotten film in many ways even though it brought Sidney Poitier to the foreground and brought Rock N Roll to the masses with "Rock Around The Clock", by Bill Haley and the Comets. It stars Glenn Ford as a WW2 vet who is now a new teacher at a rough school with some very bad kids. Poitier plays one of the delinquents whom Ford’s teacher sees more in him than he does. Of course, you have the tough kids who do everything they can to make it tough for the teachers. One might find it dated today but for the time it was considered quite gritty and realistic. I find it well acted and consider the times when it was made. It’s worth a look.
2. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE-1955
This is a classic and I consider it one of the best of juvenile delinquency movies plus one shown from the teens’ perspective. It stars the magnetic James Dean as a young man, with a cold mother and a loving but henpecked father, who is an outsider and not well liked by most. The jock and his gang love to bully, have great looking girlfriends, like Natalie Wood and try to get under James Dean’s skin. James Dean’s character falls for Natalie Wood, enters a drag race and finds out who’s chicken with dire results. The parents have no clue what is wrong with their kids and the kids are frustrated, angry and hurt. James Dean is so captivating and intense, Natalie Wood plays someone tender but strong and the young Sal Mineo just explodes on the screen as the kid with no friends. A must see!
3. KING CREOLE-1958
Oh yes...Elvis is in the house! Before he became a plump, pill popping Vegas act in a sequinned onesie, he was a good looking kid who took the world by storm with his singing and swiveling hips known as Elvis the Pelvis inflicting tics on God-fearing crew-cut parents who thought he was the devil. At this time, he started making movies and some were good. In some of his early performances, he played a ...juvenile delinquent and did quite well much to the critics' surprise. This film is considered, arguably, his best as a young teen, with a down on his luck widowed dad, who has failed out of school twice (remember when kids were actually failing in school??). He ends up with a gang but a good girl (Dolores Hart who is actually very good...she became a nun) tries to show him that he can be more. He is brought to a jerk who runs the area, played menacingly by Walter Matthau, and Elvis sings for a spot in the club. It goes from there but, if you think of Elvis in smarmy movies, give this one a try because it’s not half bad.
You know I almost chose Girls Town which is a horrible film with Mamie Van Doren which should have given me my first indication this film would suck. The second indication is that Mel Torme plays a, ready...leader of a gang, leather jacket and all. The song itself is quite hilarious.