Young and Dangerous (1957)



Don’t you love the poster for this movie?  It’s similar to the one for The Explosive Generation.  You’ve got a male character who looks as though he’s trying to force his will onto a female and then you’ve got some extra pictures of teens fighting, another male forcing his will upon a female and what looks like teens hanging out or something.  Once again the film’s title and poster are a complete lie.  Young and Dangerous is another melodramatic soap opera where the teens are nice people who are slightly misled and just need some guidance.

It had such potential too!  The movie begins with a “rumble” sequence in which a jealous ex starts a fight with the film’s main character over a girl before the cops break it up, leaving you with such hope… but alas, the movie very quickly degenerates into long, boring scenes of parents talking to teens, teens talking to teens and parents talking to parents; in groups, one on one, over the phone, just talk, talk, talk.  About what?  Well, apparently the film’s main character, Tommy Price (the incredibly good looking Mark Damon who was in Corman’s The Young Racers among many others) is a “bad kid” with no direction in life and a “reputation.”

When there aren’t scenes of people talking there are romantic montages and two goons trying to pick up ladies who hopefully aren’t “dogs.”  But let me start from the beginning. After the “rumble” sequence Tommy Price makes a bet with his two buddies Rock (William Stevens) and Stretch (Jared Barclay who resembles a young Dennis Hopper, but taller) that he can get with Rosemary (Lili Gentle).  Price takes her out in his car, makes a move on her, she jumps out and then, for no reason at all, a cop sees them and takes them in even though they didn’t commit any discernible crime.

After the “traumatic” questioning in the police station, Rosemary’s parents make it clear that she is not to see “that boy, Tommy.”  Henceforth she violates this, they start falling in love, he starts realizing there is more to life than “jazz, women and cars” and then he gets in another fight with the bad guys from the film’s opening.  The fight sequences is about the only other redeeming part of the film.  It’s actually pretty bloody!  Though it is amusing that Rosemary’s jealous ex and his boys look about 40 but, suspension of disbelief, I guess.

I love juvenile delinquent films; some of my faves include Robert Alman’s The Delinquents and Roger Corman’s Teenage Doll.  I’m sure I can name a dozen more.  But so many of them seem to shirk on the good stuff in hopes of “sending a message.” Chances are pretty strong though that I’ll continue to watch these and be fooled.  Next up: High School Hellcats!


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