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Brooklyn youth Frank Cusack, good son and brother by day, is a gang member by night. The Dukes, seemingly likable dead-end-kids, are dangerously involved with racketeer Gaggsy Steens. Despite the efforts of Franks's parents, he and pal Benny get involved in a serious crime. Can Stan Albert, head of the community center, prevent them from becoming full-time crooks? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Irving Schulman's novel The Amboy Dukes was written and being read around the time I was born. For those of you who don't know, Amboy Street is a street in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn where the street gang the Dukes hang out.
It's almost kind of quaint, but sadly so in that these kids spend time in shop class making zip guns. Very soon all kinds of weaponry would be available for street gangs right down to today.
And how things have changed. Back then one aspired like Luis Van Rooten and Thelma Ritter to move to a place like Canarsie. Now no one aspires to move to Canarsie.
Van Rooten and Ritter are the parents of Peter Fernandez and Sharon McManus and Fernandez is a member of the Amboy Dukes. Social worker Stephen McNally has some hopes of reaching him. But when he and pal Al Ramsen shoot shop teacher Robert Osterloh with one of those make it yourself weapons they become beyond the reach of social workers. And detective Jeff Corey suspects them from the beginning.
Fernandez and Ramsen had brief careers, but other members of the Dukes did a lot better. Richard Jaeckel certainly had a career of note already and Mickey Knox probably would have, but for the blacklist. And Tony Curtis stands far out in front of all of them. It was clear he was going to be star, in fact the film would have been better had he been in the lead instead of Fernandez.
City Across The River is a somewhat quaint look at Brooklyn when I was only two years old. According to Tony Curtis's memoirs some establishing shots were done there, but the cast filmed in Hollywood. It's one of the first films to deal with post war juvenile delinquency, even before West Side Story. Dated, but it holds up well.
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