Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father Adam. Cal is frustrated at ... See full summary »
War veteran Rick Dadier is one of three new teachers hired at North Manual High School, an inner city boys school. This is his first teaching assignment, which he needs to support himself and his insecure pregnant wife, Anne. Despite Principle Warnecke's assertions to the contrary, Dadier quickly learns that the rumors of student discipline problems at the school are indeed true. The established teachers at the school try to counsel the newcomers, all inexperienced in such situations, as how best to handle the rowdy students. Regardless, Dadier tries to exert discipline in his class, which provokes a violent response. Dadier believes the student leaders against him are Artie West, but more specifically Gregory Miller, who he thinks uses the fact of being black as a means of racial provocation. Dadier has to decide either to leave and teach at a "real" school, or stay and figure out how to get through to his students. If he decides to stay, he has to figure out who the real disruptive ... Written by
James Dean's untimely death in September of 1955 made "Rebel Without a Cause" a booming box office and critical success. Overshadowed due to that was "Blackboard Jungle", a superior and more important film than the aforementioned "Rebel Without a Cause" (contrary to popular belief admittedly). It is New York in the mid-1950s and former military man Glenn Ford (in his greatest screen role) takes a job as a high school teacher in the inner-city. Soon it is blatantly apparent that the school is full of male thugs (most notably guys like Sidney Poitier, Vic Morrow, Paul Mazursky and even Jamie Farr) who run things with total disregard of faculty rules and policy. Ford becomes enraged and proves to be a lot tougher than originally thought. However when pregnant wife Anne Francis starts receiving anonymous phone calls and letters from one of Ford's students about a possible affair between he and one of his female co-workers, the real fireworks start. At first Ford believes that Poitier is the culprit, probably based more on race and Poitier's obvious intelligence rather than actual proof. It takes lots of time and effort, but Ford becomes determined to get through to his pupils and weed out those who are trying to impede his progress and the advancement of others at his school. "Blackboard Jungle" is another excellent piece from writer-director Richard Brooks (Oscar-nominated for writing). It is the first truly legitimate movie that dealt with 1950s teenage angst and it rises above every other movie of the genre. Ford is a revelation, once again showing that he is probably the most under-appreciated actor throughout the history of the cinema. With that said, "Blackboard Jungle" is likely best remembered as Poitier's breakthrough role, a role which ultimately led to outstanding movie after outstanding movie throughout the late-1950s and 1960s. Poitier, 28 at the time, plays much younger than he was and adds much emotion and depth to a potentially flat character. A booming rock'n'roll soundtrack and top-flight performances dominate Brooks' outstanding winner. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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