Neil Hendry is the new high school teacher in town, but he is still haunted by a tragic event in his past. However, his friendly, casual style wins the hearts of some of the school's more troubled teens, as well as the principal's secretary. He is able to positively help them both in and out of school. But these same attributes make him an enemy of the principal, who discourages such close relationships between teachers and students. Written by
Although Bobby Rydell didn't appear in the movie, his song "Swingin' School" was part of the soundtrack. It entered the Billboard Top 40 on May 16, 1960 (3 weeks before Duane Eddy & the Rebels' version of the title song), and stayed for 8 weeks, peaking at #5. See more »
Eddy's guitar is amplified even though it is not connected to an amplifier. See more »
Because They're Young marked Dick Clark's dramatic big screen debut and while it didn't electrify the cinema world, he doesn't turn in a bad screen performance as the high school history teacher involved with his kids and with school secretary Victoria Shaw.
The plot of the film centers around a high school triangle with jock Warren Berlinger, cheerleader Tuesday Weld, and troubled youth and James Dean knockoff Michael Callan. Hints of the less than Ozzie and Harriet background of the three of them can be seen it brief vignettes of their troubled homes.
Clark's also having issues with principal William Genge who wants him to stick to teaching and leave the social work alone. Before Joe Clark was ever heard of, this principal has a once strike and you're out policy in the school. Dick Clark takes more of the Father Flannagan approach.
Two of the supporting cast, Doug McClure and Roberta Shore, would later be together on The Virginian television series. But that wouldn't be for another five years.
Look for a good performance also by Rudy Bond who's got a Fagin like role as the leader and fence of a juvenile heist gang in which Callan is a member.
Music by Duane Eddy, James Darren, and Bobby Rydell place the film firmly in 1960, the year of its release. The first two make guest appearances at a school dance. I know we didn't have names of that caliber at anything my high school ever ran back in those days.
It's not a bad film given the obviously low budget for it. It does have some nice noir touches and sincere performances by its cast.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?