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17-year-old Jimmy Walker is brutally beaten by Manny Cole and two of his teen-age punk friends, Joey and Al, because Manny wants to move in on Jimmy's girl, Carole Fields. Later, Jimmy shows up at the hangout of the teenage crowd to take Carole away, and challenges Manny to a fight. Manny's two buddies move in with brass knuckles, and one of them pulls a pistol, which falls to the ground in the scuffle. Jimmy picks it up and shoots Manny and Al. A police officer orders Jimmy to surrender, but he panics, thinking he killed the pair, and dives into a small storeroom, and holds Sam and Mrs. Maxton and her small infant baby hostages. Police Lieutenant Porter and others plead with Jimmy to surrender and release the hostages, but the terrified Jimmy threatens Sam and Mrs. Maxton with death if they break out. A large crowd gathers and almost breaks through the police lines to storm the storeroom. Porter decides to use tear gas, with a rescue unit standing by to help Mrs. Maxton and her baby.... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
this rare find is completely watchable on one level, almost in spite of itself...
You'd know why you'd want to find this film, as it's the ultra-low budget, barely-a-drive-in quickie that features the great Jack Nicholson in his feature debut at the tender age of 21 (he was a mailman at MGM in his previous years in Hollywood). He plays a youth out of control, though also under duress. He's taken a woman and kid hostage, and outside the crowd builds in anticipation as the cops struggle to find a compromise to get everyone safely out. The film is complete with a theme song that just repeats 'cry-cry-cry, cry-baby killer', and in a style that is as polished as a junkyard dog. The story itself, by the way, is told in a way that is so simplistic and with over-acting (or maybe too trying-to-be-realistic acting) that is typical of this kind of un-pretentiously kind of fare. '' But the reason in the end to reach into the recesses of ebay or elsewhere to find it is to see Nicholson in his early larval stage of a career, and somehow he does make the work fascinating to watch. Obviously not his best by a long-shot, and his first big break in the B-world would come later in Little Shop of Horrors and even later in Easy Rider. However I did like how he was keeping his scenes pretty well grounded, keeping to the situation at hand with all of the confusion and shattered rebellion that's in a youth of his real age. It's almost like checking out the Beatles when they were still the Quarry Men or something- it's not necessarily 'good', but you might be surprised at how it's not really bad either.
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