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Marv needs money. His unemployed dad is so poor that he makes Marv give up half his last six bucks so they can both go on three-dollar dates; he's just lost his scholarship after getting caught writing a term paper for Betty, the prettiest (and only) girl in his class; and Betty herself has told him he doesn't stand a chance with her unless he can give her what she wants most: money, money, money. But Marv has mob ties and Marv knows where to find a million dollars cash... Written by
Several performances that young Tom Pittman did were released posthumously the following year after his tragic death in an automobile crash in 1958. High School Big Shot was the last of them and I feel bad that this is the epitaph of young Tom's career. He should better be remembered as one of Dean Jagger's sons in The Proud Rebel.
But for better or worse Pittman was the lead in this independent B feature probably popular in drive-ins at the time. He plays a poor and sensitive kid who for love of the high school vixen Virginia Aldridge embarks on a life of crime.
Truth be told he's not got much of a life to begin with, but he has a shot at a college scholarship that his English teacher Peter Leeds is going to recommend him for. But when Pittman is discovered doing a paper for Aldridge, Leeds withdraws his recommendation. I think that was a bit much. If Leeds had any understanding he would have known it was the kid's hormones in overdrive which they are at that age.
Anyway Pittman finds that the warehouse he works at after school is to be used as a drop for syndicate money, untraceable syndicate money to be used to purchase heroin. And Pittman finds a safe-cracker in Stanley Adams to help him with the job.
But it all goes wrong, not the least of which is that Pittman tells Aldridge and she tells her hoodlum boyfriend Howard Veit who decides he wants the loot. It all ends in a bloody mess.
Adams is good as the philosophical safe-cracker and Malcolm Atterbury contributes a nice performance as Pittman's alcoholic father. But the film such as it is belongs to Pittman who is a sensitive soul gone terribly wrong. And I'm sure Pittman knew this one was a Thanksgiving feast yet his performance in this very cheaply made film is good.
And this review is dedicated to Tom Pittman another sad Hollywood tragedy.
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