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7/10
Adolescent angst and affluence: a ‘50s tale
bmacv16 October 2002
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.
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6/10
Modest melodrama, but better than the generation-gap youth flicks turned out a few years later
moonspinner5525 April 2003
Clean-cut but wisecracking teenage boy in Beverly Hills causes a minor stir in a movie theater, scuffles with a too-strict staff and ends up punching the manager in the face! Somewhat mechanical yet heartfelt melodrama, a thinly-disguised plea for the misunderstood teen, does manage to touch on some interesting child-parent issues. Filmed in just 25 days by debuting director John Frankenheimer (who practically disowned the thing later on), it's an occasionally effective second-feature written by Robert Dozier, who adapted his own TV play "Deal a Blow". James MacArthur is green but compelling in the lead, James Daly and Kim Hunter excellent as his parents. Relatively minor, but the straightforward handling and still-relatable angst result in several fine sequences and a moving finale. **1/2 from ****
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10/10
A teenager has trouble at a movie theatre, runs foul of the law and Dad.
bux19 October 1998
Riding high on the success of "Rebel Without a Cause", came a tidal wave of 'teen' movies. Arguably this is one of the best. A very young McArthur excels here as the not really too troubled teen. The story concentrates more on perceptions of delinquency, than any traumatic occurrence. The supporting cast is memorable, Frankenheimer directs like an old pro. Just a story of a young man that finds others take his actions much too seriously.
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8/10
Great right out of the gate
craigjclark12 July 2002
The world is going to miss John Frankenheimer. This was his first feature film and it was four years before he directed his second, but don't let that dissuade you from seeking it out. Frankenheimer's direction is assured, and he gets some compelling performances out of his cast.

Someone else has already pointed them out, but I also want to talk up James Gregory and Whit Bissell in two key supporting roles. Both would work for Frankenheimer again -- Gregory most notably as the bumbling senator in "The Manchurian Candidate" -- and they do good work for him here.

If the whole thing seems too simple in the end, that's merely because Frankenheimer and writer Robert Dozier chose to tell a simple story, and they do it well. Keep a lookout for it -- Turner Classic Movies just might show it again.
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7/10
Stranger in the house
sol121812 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** Well made and interesting film about the alienated youth of America back in the 1950's. Back in those days many parents caught up with making big bucks and living high on the hog forget that their children, especially teen-agers, needed a lot more then a car and and hefty allowance in order to feel part of the family. They also needed love and attention, to their growing up problems, which is what 16 year-old Hal Ditmar, James MacArthur never got from his successful movie producer dad Mr.Tom Ditmar, James Daly.

Never really connecting with his dad Hal grows more and more distant from both him and his caring mom Helen Ditmar, Kim Hunter, as well as from society. After his dad put Hal down about him wanting to borrow his car, a late model luxury sedan, he and his friend Jerry, Jeffery Silver, drive in Hal's beat up and barley operational 1930's jalopy to the local treater to catch the latest western flick.

Feeling like striking out at the world Hal acts like a real first-class jerk sticking his smelly feet almost into the faces of a couple, Eddie Ryder & Jean Corbett, sitting in front of him and Jerry trying to watch the movie. This leads Hal, as well as his friend Jerry, to not only be kicked out of the theater but with him belting the theater manager Mr. Grebbs, Whit Bissell. It turned out that at least Hal was willing to leave the theater, without even getting his money back, but when Grebbs tries to grab him Hal wheeled around and belted him right in the kisser.

Hal now in real hot water, he's charged with assault and battery, put's on his "James Dean" act, at the local police station, making like he's either too cool or just plain stupid to realize what he's done; almost knocked Mr. Grebbs teeth out. It's when Sgt.Shipley, James Gergory, tells Hal that his dad is coming to pick him up when he finally sobers up to the fact of what he's done.

The rest of the film has Hal try to straighten himself out but is unable to do that because the low esteem that his dad has of him. Begging his father to understand that what he did, in belting Mr. Grebbs, was in self-defense Hal's father acts as if he's been there, at the theater, and saw the whole incident with his son Hal acting like a street thug instead of of a young man being grabbed and pushed without provocation.

Not excusing what Hal did, in laying out Mr. Grebbs, he in fact was willing to admit his hooligan behavior but he wanted both Mr. Grebbs and his dad to at least treat him with an iota of consideration; Gebbs in the fact that he provoked Hal and Mr. Ditmas in not even bothering to hear him out! Feeling like a wanted criminal without anyone, but his mom, to really turn too Hal slowly loses it only to later have both Sgt. Shipley and Mr. Grabbs agree to drop the assault charge. You would think that by now Hal's has finally learned his lesson but the real lesson, more then a stretch behind bars, that Hal's so desperately needed was a lesson that his father totally ignored! Being there when his son needed him most and in that Mr. Ditmar failed with flying colors.

Things do in fact straighten out for everyone in the movie only after Mr. Grebbs gets belted, ending up with a butte of a shiner, again by Hal who, going back to Grebbs theater, tries to get him to phone his dad and tell him that Hal was only defending himself when he first, not the second time around, clobbered him. In the end Hal learned a real lesson in getting along with people an not letting his problems become other peoples problems. But most of all Hal's father Mr. Ditmar learned the most valuable lesson of all in how to understand his frustrated and alienated son and act like a father toward him instead of a combination jail-keeper and a sugar daddy. Like the song says "All you need s Love" to get things on the right track and it was both love and understanding for his son Hal that Mr. Ditmar, until the very end of the movie, lacked the most off.
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A classic
ivan-2225 September 2002
From the very beginning this movie is a classic of the teens-in-trouble genre - or of any genre. In many respects it is better than "Rebel Without a Cause" with its stunning black and white cinematography, far less pretentious and overwrought plot, and scrupulous avoidance of anything smacking of exploitation. Performances are absolutely breathtaking, even those of secondary characters. The music is just perfect, a dream. Stylistically this is as good as it gets. The plot matches the subdued, sensitive style. But there is a fly in the ointment. The movie overplays its cards, pleading for so much compassion for a young man who doesn't quite merit it, that one tends to side with the theater manager whom he assaulted. The boy's feelings are so tender, that even when he escapes punishment he wants his victim and parents and society in general to admit that he wouldn't have deserved it, had he been so unlucky as to have gotten it. That is going too far. That is emotional blackmail. It's a nasty, bullying streak that the writer feeds and rewards. The implication seems to be that all the sensitive youth are concentrated in the upper strata of society. The wealthier the more "sensitive" kids are. That's occasion for mirth. Poor youngsters are as entitled to say "we are also sensitive", we are also going through phases, and we also need understanding and tender loving care.
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10/10
The Young Stranger, a Minor 50s Masterpiece....
campbell21281 January 2011
I first saw this movie in the early 70s and have loved it since. I have also met the late actor, James MacArthur, a few years back in Burbank, CA, and talked with him about this film, Frankenheimer's first, that which by the way, is not "cliché ridden" as the other and only other person to review this film has suggested.

MacArthur's performance is remarkable, as is the performances by Kim Hunter, who doesn't "look bored with the plot," alluding to the terrible review of this film above, and James Daly and James Gregory, too, veteran actors like Hunter, share in this rich drama of youth angst and a neglective father.

Whit Bissell, who portrays the theatre manager (I used to work at the Bruin Theatre in Westwood, used in the movie), and Bissell plays the role with great accuracy: I have certainly known theatre managers like this character, and many a pleasant ones. Bissell was a gem of a character actor.

Leonard Rosenmann, who scored the film, also did "Rebel Without a Cause," which this film is unfairly and often compared to. This film is far closer to the truth of what it was like growing up in Los Angeles at the time, I know, I was there and its treatment of themes peculiar to youth experience and behind the scenes parental conflicts, especially among the wealthy families that I knew, are also accurate. This film portrays the lives of real people who lived then, and what we were like then with great attention to detail.

The ending of the film, too, offers the kind of needed optimism that "Rebel Without A Cause" did not offer. I love "Rebel" but it is often very overstated while this film is understated.

Please do not think there is anything cliché-ish about this film.

James MacArthur said to us that this film was his favorite film that he did. It was too bad that Disney got its hands on him, though a couple of those films were excellent as was "Spencer's Mountain," with Henry Fonda. The Young Stranger is a quiet masterpiece.
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8/10
Timeless film of a teenager coming to terms with his anger.
Tom-20717 September 2000
This eloquent, simple film makes a remarkably clear statement about a teenager and his father. Though a theatrical release, it has a "made-for-TV" quality. We can attribute this to the director, John Frankenheimer, who learned his craft in the early days of live television in New York City. Indeed, he directed the teleplay on which the film is based, "Deal a Blow," on the CBS drama series "Climax." "Young Stranger" represents his Hollywood debut. After a hiatus of four years, during which he would do more television, he returned to direct "The Young Savages" with Burt Lancaster and, a year after that, "All Fall Down" with Warren Beatty and Angela Lansbury.

The casting is competent with James Daly and Kim Hunter (particularly good) playing the parents of the title character performed by James MacArthur (his first theatrical film) who played the same role in the television version which was his first appearance on the small screen. Look for James Gregory and Whit Bissell in supporting roles.
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7/10
Frankenheimer's Impressive Directorial Feature Debut
CitizenCaine30 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The late Director John Frankenheimer directed his first feature film, The Young Stranger, after starting out directing live television dramas in New York City. This film came on the heels of the success of Rebel Without A Cause in 1955. James MacArthur made his feature film debut as a troubled teen with a movie producer father, played by James Daly, who doesn't establish enough of a relationship with his son. Kim Hunter plays the mother, who tries to bridge the gap between her husband and her son. The film uses the popular juvenile delinquent angle of the time to tell its story. MacArthur gets in trouble at a movie theater with an overzealous theater manager played by Whit Bissell. MacArthur, in turn, has to deal with a police sergeant, James Gregory, bent on teaching him a lesson. The material could easily have turned exploitative, laughable, and sensational, like any number of others of the period did. However, under the sure-handed direction of Frankenheimer, the film is a sensitive portrayal of teenage and parental dynamics. The dialog is realistic and most of the scenes hold up surprisingly well. Some of the scenes with Bissell, as the theater manager, and Gregory, as the police sergeant, are a bit heavy-handed and dated. The performances are uniformly good though, which is necessary for a film of this nature and about this topic to succeed. This is an impressive feature film debut both for MacArthur and Frankenheimer. *** of 4 stars.
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6/10
The Young Stranger- Witnesses Anyone? **1/2
edwagreen16 December 2006
A teenage James MacArthur stars in this film dealing with the age old theme of listen to your children as well as try to believe them.

From an affluent Beverly Hill home, MacArthur finds himself being harassed in a movie theater after a patron complained about his putting his legs on a chair. The problem is that there were plenty of people saw the harassment by the manager of the theater but no one was asked to say anything. This is a definite problem in the screen writing.

I had actually forgotten that James Daly was an actor. I remember him in television commercials. As his wife, Kim Hunter looks like she is annoyed with the whole plot. We suddenly find out that she has been contemplating leaving Daly for 5 years. What's stopping you lady, your life of luxury?

While John Frankenheimer always dealt with social problems, this one is cliché ridden.

Acting kudos goes to James Gregory as a hard-nosed police officer who adds to the problem by giving MacArthur a bad time. I think this picture was a cheap stunt to continue the theme of "Rebel Without A Cause." That Sal Mineo masterpiece also deals with wayward youth and a loss of interaction between parent and child. "Young Stranger" is adequate but certainly not in the league of "Rebel."

Whit Bissell is effective as the theater owner who is fed up with the behavior of all teenage movie-goers and wants to use MacArthur as an example. Usually a cowardly co-star in grade B films of the 1950s, Bissell shows his adeptness of really being a weakling.

With regard to Gregory, Frankenheimer would get a brilliant performance out of him in 1962's "The Manchurian Candidate." Remember him as the moronic senator married to Angela Lansbury?
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3/10
Rebel Without A Cause meets Leave It To Beaver
sleestaker27 December 2006
Imagine a version of Rebel Without A Cause written by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher with Tony Dow in the lead role. That's about what you get in this tale of teenage angst set in Beverly Hills. James MacArthur is Hal Ditmar, a high schooler with a crew cut, a letter jacket and a jalopy. His father (James Daly) is a movie producer and his mother (Kim Hunter) makes dinner in pearls and a stylish dress a la June Cleaver. But Hal isn't happy, so he goes to the movies and puts his feet on the seat in front of him. When he gets thrown out, a minor scuffle ensues and he pops the theater manager (Whit Bissell) in the mouth.

Police Sgt. Shipley (James Gregory) takes Hal to the station where he resists in the most benign fashion. This "hooliganism" (as Shipley refers to it) is the focus of the tension in this film. Not that punching an adult is nothing, but it's hardly the weighty societal crisis that this film portrays it to be, particularly given the antiseptic Hal, whose rebellion consists of driving too slowly in traffic and not eating his milk and cookies, yet still coming to the family dinner table in a coat and tie. His language even gets a bit coarse as he complains that the police will probably send him to the "crummy gas chamber." Golly gee whiz, Beave!

Good performances by Bissell and the ever-engaging Gregory give the film some weight, but it's still pretty tame, almost flirting with melodrama at times. It would be nice if this were the extent of all juvenile delinquency, but even by Eisenhower-era standards this is hardly worthy of the turmoil it causes. It almost comes off as hyper-propaganda...like a Reefer Madness for delinquency ("Ah, reckless youth, with your fast roadsters and your rumble seats!") It may have been hard hitting and relevant in 1957, but it's merely anachronistic and just a tad quaint in the 21st century.
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Gets better as it goes along
Wizard-818 December 2009
I usually get a kick out of teenspoitation movies made in the '50, mainly because the characters and their attitudes seem so dated when seen today. So when this movie came up on Turner Classic Movies, you can be sure I was careful to tape it. The beginning of the movie seems to promise that it will be pretty campy. The teenage protagonist upset that he has to drive his own crummy car since his father won't let him use his brand new car? The teenage protagonist venting his building angst by putting his feet up on the chair in front of him in a movie theater? But not long after all that, the movie gets pretty serious - and compelling. You'll start to sympathize with the teenage protagonist (even though the movie doesn't make him TOTALLY likable), and understand why he is so upset, and why he does the things he does. MacArthur is actually pretty good in the title role, even though he seems to be just a little too old to be a teenager. And Frankenheimer's direction is overall pretty solid. Today's teenagers may think this to be tame stuff, but older viewers in a nostalgic mood will probably find this to be a pleasant surprise.
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3/10
I'd like to give this movie nothing, because that is what it is - a nothing!
JohnHowardReid24 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
James MacArthur (Hal Ditmar), Kim Hunter (Helen Ditmar), James Daly (Tom Ditmar), James Gregory (Sergeant Shipley), Whit Bissell (Grubbs, theater manager), Jeff Silver (Jerry), Jack Mullaney (confused boy), Eddie Ryder (man in theater), Jean Corbett (girl in theater), Gary Vinson (boy in courtroom), Charles Davis (detective), Marian Seldes (Mrs Morse), Terry Kelman (Donald Morse), Edith Evanson (Lotte), Tom Pittman (Lynn), Howard Price (doorman).

Director: JOHN FRANKENHEIMER. Screenplay: Robert Dozier. Based on his 1955 television play Deal a Blow. Photography: Robert Planck. Film editors: Robert Swink, Edward Biery, Jr. Music composed and conducted by Leonard Rosenman. Art directors: Albert S. D'Agostino, John B. Mansbridge. Set decorator: William Stevens. Make-up supervisor: Harry Maret, Jr. Hair styles: Larry Germain. Assistant director: Richard Moder. Sound recording: Francis Scheid, Terry Kellum. RCA Sound System. Producer: Stuart Millar.

Copyright 1957 by RKO Radio Pictures. New York opening at the Guild: 8 April 1957. U.S. release through Universal-International: May 1957. U.K. release: 24 June 1957. Australian release: 19 June 1958. Sydney opening at the Esquire (ran one week). 7,593 feet. 84 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Youth has a row with theater manager. Father doesn't want to know youth's side of the story.

NOTES: Film debut of James MacArthur. Also first theater film for director John Frankenheimer.

COMMENT: This boring account of a misunderstood teenager offers little in the way of entertainment. The script is exceptionally long on talk, but extremely short on action. Virtually nothing happens.

What's more the film is remarkably poor in any offsetting production values. The players are second echelon, the sets and backgrounds dull, the camera-work uninspired, the music scoring pedestrian.

Frankenheimer's idea of directing is to plonk a static camera down in front of his cast and let them emote away. Unfortunately, aside from MacArthur who has the best lines and is allowed to exhibit a bit of fight, this device compounds the deadly dullness of the dialogue and exacerbates the obvious lack of talent among the players.
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5/10
Question of credibility
bkoganbing1 April 2017
John Frankenheimer made his big screen directorial debut in this modestly budgeted film about a growing distance between father and son, hence the title The Young Stranger. Playing the title role was young James MacArthur as the rich, but troubled teen.

MacArthur is a high spirited kid no one bad really just a bit rough around the edges. One night he and friend Jeffrey Silver were getting obnoxious at a movie theater and got ejected from the film. But Whit Bissell the theater manager just didn't want to leave it at that. He tried to restrain MacArthur and Silver and MacArthur punches out Bissell.

After Bissell makes a police complaint it's a three cornered question of credibility between MacArthur, father James Daly, and police sergeant in the juvenile division James Gregory. Both the adults unquestionably take the side of the adult Bissell who clearly overreacted to the situation in his theater.

Daly is a noted film producer though I do say he seemed to live rather modestly for one of those. Clear he doesn't know his son. Mother Kim Hunter sees what's going and tries to bridge the gap.

Everybody here acquits themselves well in this drama. Frankenheimer's next big screen credit would also be a story about juvenile delinquency, The Young Savages. He might have gone on as a director of youth oriented films, but he certainly expanded his range.

There's also an inside joke here from Universal Pictures which released this film about the head of another studio. There's a crack made about the aphorisms Daly is constantly quoting that he learned from his dad back as a kid in Nebraska. Darryl F. Zanuck over at 20th Century Fox was famously from Wahoo, Nebraska. I'm sure Zanuck got the point if he saw the film.

MacArthur was too clean cut to ever be another James Dean. But his career certainly was not modest even if The Young Stranger is.
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A page in the James Dean Manual for Wayward Adolescents on Film
jarrodmcdonald-11 March 2014
James MacArthur plays the rebellious young stranger in this picture. Is he a stranger to his family? To society? Or to himself?

Whatever the case, he comes across sincerely as a troubled youth in 1950s Los Angeles, writing his own page in the James Dean Manual for Wayward Adolescents on Film. Helping Mr. MacArthur with his first leading role is Director John Frankenheimer. Frankenheimer proves you do not need crackling dialogue, fast-paced action, or lavish sets and expensive costumes to tell an exciting story. Points must be given for the scene where the main character fools his mother at the traffic light; also, the bit with the boys mowing grass is rather memorable.
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Earnest Little Drama
dougdoepke5 February 2013
A teenage boy estranged from his wealthy father gets into trouble with the law.

Earnest little teen-age drama. I'm not surprised the movie came from a TV play since the production resembles a Playhouse 90 drama from TV's so-called Golden Age. MacArthur performs wonderfully as the alienated son of a wealthy self-centered dad (Daly). This was the kid's first acting outing and he mostly low-keys it, showing the repression he suffers because of an overly cocksure dad.

Of course, the concern with "juvenile delinquency" dates the show to the 1950's, conjuring up images of a James Dean, a temptation MacArthur wisely avoids. Nonetheless, as in Dean's Rebel Without a Cause (1955), the boy's problems boil down to a dysfunctional dad—too weak in Dean's case, too strong in MacArthur's. Hal's (MacArthur) refusal to come up with an easy apology because he knows he's right about the punch-out in the theater, shows strong character that dad fails to consider. I too, thought why not apologize even if it betrays the facts since that would end the problem with the law. But Hal stays true to the facts because he knows he's right. All in all, it's a good dramatic crux.

The movie's perfectly cast, though I have to say the excellent actress Kim Hunter is largely wasted in a role a hundred lesser performers could have handled. Newcomer Frankenheimer directs with a sure and knowing hand that foreshadows his outstanding Hollywood career-- The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Seconds (1966), among others.

No, there're no fast car races, or sexy teen girls, standard features of teen movies of the day. In fact, the only action is the set-to in the theater and the lawnmower hijinks. Nevertheless, the movie remains a compelling little human interest drama that manages to survive the decades, thanks mainly to MacArthur.
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1/10
Dreadful
gettysburg_photos14 December 2006
This laughable mess was probably wowing audiences back during the 50s, but viewing this film this afternoon was a complete waste of time. The decent cast and great director couldn't keep me from yawning from start to finish. The story line (father against rebel son) had potential, but fell flat within the first five boring minutes. As for the dialog? Dreadful from beginning to end. There's a cardinal rule in writing of not repeating yourself, but this film does it over and over causing the viewer to commence searching for a vomit bag or even a weapon to put yourself out of your misery. Thankfully, the director and stars went on to give us much better projects. If you have an hour or two you wanna waste, watch The Young Stranger. Otherwise, read a book.
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6/10
Tame, Tepid, Teen-Age Angst with TV Roots and It Shows
LeonLouisRicci1 April 2015
All but Forgotten, the Juvenile Delinquent(JD)"Problem" of the 1950's that included "Rebellious" Teenagers "Ripping It Up", Riding New Found Freedom and Pocket Money from Post War Booty to the Beat of "Rock n' Roll" and Other Things Their Parents found Alien.

This Tepid, Talky Debut from the Great "Social Commentary" Director John Frankenheimer, is a Well Acted Display of Dramatic Intensity, but Not Much else.

It is Beefed Up TV that is Stagy and don't Look for Any Cinematic Flourishes because there aren't any. It is as Straight Forward as it gets relying on Words and Close-Up Expressions Combined with mild Generational Misunderstandings and Communication Breakdowns.

This is a Not Bad, Competent, Professional looking Movie but Static, and even in 1957 it is a Wonder why anyone would Venture Off the Couch and go to the Theater to see this when the some of the Better Television Anthologies were doing Virtually the Same Thing Night After Night, Week After Week.

In Fact, that's where this came from. The Story with some of the Same Actors, and the Same Director, came from TV, and They Turned this into John Frankenheimer's Film Debut, but Nothing much was Added or Enhanced.

Overall, Worth a Watch for the Director's Completest Fans. But it isn't anything Special and Except for the Social Commentary (Teenage Angst) that was New in the Fifties, there isn't Much here to Recommend.
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6/10
Stranger in Hollywood Land
wes-connors12 March 2015
In upscale Beverly Hills, angst-ridden 16-year-old James MacArthur (as Harold "Hal" Ditmar) wants to borrow his father's car to take pal Jeffrey Silver (as Jerry Doyle) out to the movies. Successful movie producer father James Daly (as Thomas "Tom" Ditmar) jerks young MacArthur around, teasingly. The lads wind up going out in MacArthur's battery-challenged jalopy. Obviously having problems relating to his dad, MacArthur acts bratty at the movies. He talks during the film and sticks his feet up over chairs in front, which especially annoys a man trying to get chummy with his female companion...

MacArthur and his young pal are told to leave the cinema, which seems like the best outcome. Then, oddly, MacArthur is asked to visit theater manager Whit Bissell (as Grubbs) in his office. Declining this invitation, young MacArthur gets in a scuffle and is taken to the police station. MacArthur claims he hit Mr. Bissell in self-defense, but Mr. Daly doesn't believe his son. While the action shifts to the police station, cops ticket Macarthur's jalopy. Having gone out to the movies in Westwood recently, note that it's still easy to get a parking ticket in Westwood. But, hardly anyone puts their feet up on the seat anymore...

Neatly-written by Robert Dozier, this is a feature-film re-make of director John Frankenheimer's "Climax!" TV series episode "Deal a Blow" (1955), which also starred young MacArthur. A few others reprised their parts, as well. In a tailor-made introductory role, MacArthur was very impressive. The son of acclaimed actress Helen Hayes and successful writer Charles MacArthur, James Macarthur became most well-known for his supporting role in the classic TV series "Hawaii Five-O". In a re-cast role, Daly is extraordinary as the father; his alienation from son and wife Kim Hunter (as Helen) is unexpectedly heart-rending...

An older teenager, herein, MacArthur and Jeff Silver (also from the original TV episode) give off more of a gay vibe than may have been intended. How the young men sit when driven home from the police station and what can be described as "the lawnmower scene" are our best evidence; moreover, there are no female interests to contradict speculation. That doesn't adversely affect the basic story, but the incidents where MacArthur punches Mr. Bissell look more violent with a slightly older teenager. In fact, the second altercation made this viewer think MacArthur killed the movie manager. And, it didn't look like self-defense...

****** The Young Stranger (2/1/57) John Frankenheimer ~ James MacArthur, James Daly, Kim Hunter, Jeffrey Silver
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