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THIS SUMMARY CONTAINS SPOILERS! Danny is a juvenile delinquent sentenced to Variety Club Ranch in lieu of jail. He charms the headmistress and goads everyone else. The marshal sets out to find source of Danny's rage, and learns he mistakenly believes he is responsible for his mother's death. After a final crime spree and escape attempt, Danny learns he's not to blame. Court return him to Ranch on the marshal's conviction that he's redeemed from life of crime. Danny goes on to graduate from Texas A&M's ROTC program. Written by
Rita Richardson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There is a reason Audie could play a troubled, haunted young man so convincingly: as a WWII veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, he suffered from headaches, nightmares and vomiting ever since leaving the service. Thus he perhaps had a chance to play himself here as he really was, more than he ever did in any Western, more than anyone really wanted to realize. Was he troubled and haunted in real life? He slept with a loaded gun under his pillow till the end of his life.
Only 24 when he made Bad Boy, Audie fools us for a bit into thinking he is just a wooden young actor: he fails to connect emotionally with anyone in the film, or with the viewer, for quite a long time; we think, is this going to work? But, stunningly, the boyish charm appears out of nowhere when he meets and interacts with Jane Wyatt. The sudden reversal is surprising, and pleasant, if too brief. But it demonstrates that he was a little more talented than many gave him credit for.
James Gleason is hilarious as the strong-arm of the boy's camp; weighing in at what I imagine to be no more than a painfully thin 110 pounds, he dominated by sheer personality. Lloyd Nolan is quite good, if a bit one-dimensional.
Finally, I have to wonder if those kids working with Audie must have been in terrified awe of this troubled young veteran; after all, he killed at least 240 Germans, confirmed, in the war; and had earned the right to wear every medal the Allies had to offer. And here he was, trading fake stage punches with teenagers. Amazing.
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