An average Los Angeles citizen witnesses a gang murder when he stops to use a telephone. Aware that he is the only witness against them, the gang members seek out his identity and terrorize... See full summary »
An average Los Angeles citizen witnesses a gang murder when he stops to use a telephone. Aware that he is the only witness against them, the gang members seek out his identity and terrorize him and his family to keep him from testifying against them. Only by psychologically playing one gang member against the others is the man able to bring the police to his rescue. Written by
Even Dennis Hopper doesn't look very punkish in this lame, dated yarn. In fact, Hopper and his male co-punks look like they just left men's prayer breakfast at the local Baptist church! And "man" is indeed the operative word, since most of them appear a lot closer to thirty than eighteen. And Johnny Nash, as the "colored boy" who endures the gang's racially derogatory jibes, even acts like he'd be more at home in Sunday school--or at a high school chess club meeting. It's hard to swallow the cinematic assertion that this bunch could get involved in murder, assault, grand larceny, and conspiracy to kidnap. But, while any thuggishness of appearance is downplayed, their behavior is so over the top that it emerges as farcical. Joby Baker, as a nastily oh-so-cool hepcat, is reminiscent of Mark Rydell in the 1956 feature Crime in the Streets. (Moreover, Baker plainly states that he doesn't like girls.) The actors, however, can scarcely be blamed for this lumpy melodrama. Jeffrey Hunter and Frank Silvera deliver straight, low-key efforts, and Terry Burnham, as Hunter's little daughter, puts in a fine performance. Pat Crowley, on the other hand, could emerge only as overwrought when she is scripted to fret about unwashed dishes as her family flees for its life. Despite the movie's incongruity of characters, the plot--though utterly predictable--does move along at a steady pace. At times, though, it feels overedited, as with an apparent reluctance to deal in detail with attacks on Hunter's family. The film's value lies in its interest as an unintentional parody of Fifties depictions. As such, it is well worth a look-see.
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