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The Young Stranger (1957)

 -  Drama  -  1 February 1957 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 281 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 3 critic

When a 16-year-old, neglected by his movie producer father, gets in trouble, his father doesn't believe his claim of self-defense.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (television play "Deal a Blow")
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Title: The Young Stranger (1957)

The Young Stranger (1957) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Harold James 'Hal' Ditmar
...
Helen Ditmar
...
Thomas 'Tom' Ditmar
...
Police Sgt. Shipley
...
Grubbs, Theater Manager
Jeffrey Silver ...
Jerry Doyle
Jack Mullaney ...
Confused Boy
Tom Pittman ...
Lynn Spears
Charles Davis ...
Detective
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Boy in Courtroom (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Hal Ditmar is a clean-cut kid, the son of a wealthy movie producer. When an argument at a theatre turns into a fight between Hal and the theatre manager, Hal finds no one, not even his father, will believe his actions were justified as self-defense. The police are concerned that Hal is a juvenile delinquent in the making, but the real problem lies in Hal's father's inattention to his son. It's up to Hal's mother to try to bridge the gulf between father and son. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 February 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das nackte Gesicht  »

Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First feature film directed by John Frankenheimer. He had worked in television prior to this. See more »

Quotes

Teen: You know, they arrested me for car theft. My dad's car! Gee if I'd known I was gonna get caught, I'd have done pretty much better for myself. My dad's car---what a heap!
See more »

Connections

References Dragnet (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Adolescent angst and affluence: a ‘50s tale
16 October 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

What often threatens to turn into a soppy and soft-headed drama about misunderstood middle-class youth ends up a surprisingly shaded and subdued movie by John Frankenheimer (his first, though he had started in television, directing among other things an earlier version of this script).

We are still in those semi-mythic ‘50s when teenagers drove jalopies and jeans were still dungarees. James MacArthur (adoptive son of playwright Charles and actress Helen Hayes, and later to enter pop culture as Hawaii 5-0's Danno) gets involved in a minor incident in a movie theater which escalates to his throwing a punch at the manager (Whit Bissell) and being booked down at the police station. His dad (James Daly), a big-shot movie producer gets the call, doesn't listen to his son's version of the story, and pulls strings to get him off.

But MacArthur keeps carrying a chip on his shoulder, which even his sympathetic mom (Kim Hunter) can't knock off. Things worsen in the Coldwater Canyon homestead until MacArthur, trying to vindicate himself, stages a reprise of the original incident....

The movie doesn't quite avoid the attitudes – and cliches – of its time, but presents them with considerable nuance: Every character gets an honorable hearing; every point of view has its merits (and reactions to the movie will depend on what viewers bring to it). There are flaws (the word `crummy,' a standard rebellious euphemism of the era, is used about 30 times too often) but they're outweighed by strengths. The movie benefits from a strong cast (most notable among them the excellent character actor James Gregory, as a police detective) and a resolutely non-exploitative way of telling its story. From a vantage point in the new millennium, the hot water MacArthur finds himself in may seem a little tepid, but The Young Stranger remains honest and honorable.


15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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