6.6/10
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15 user 9 critic

The Explosive Generation (1961)

High school teacher gets in trouble when he tries to teach a class in sex education.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Peter Gifford
...
Janet Sommers
Lee Kinsolving ...
Dan Carlyle
...
Mrs. Katie Sommers
...
Bobby Herman Sr. (as Steve Dunne)
...
Mr. Carlyle
...
Mr. George Sommers
...
Mr. Morton
Suzi Carnell ...
Marge Ryker
...
Terry
...
Mark
Peter Virgo ...
Fred - Dean of Boys
...
Police Captain
Bruce Kerner ...
Mark
Peter Virgo Jr. ...
George
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Storyline

Peter Gifford is a likable, dedicated schoolteacher that teaches a senior life skills class. When student Janet Sommers brings up the topic of sex and dating, he asks students to write questions on the topic, and will cover them in the next class. The parents get wind of what Gifford is about to do, notify the principal, and he warns Peter not to read the questions in class. Gifford decides to go against this and is suspended. The whole student body protests, and the administration gets worried on what to do. Written by Pat McCurry

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Taglines:

Never has youth gone on such a rampage... never has a motion picture gone so far in telling their raging story! See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

October 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frühreife Generation  »

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(Westrex Recording System)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the Arizona Republic newspaper of August 22, 2014, two days of filming occurred at Mesa High School in Mesa, Arizona. About 350 students got to play extras in the film. Making his Hollywood debut as an extra was a 17-year-old David Geffen, the future music and film producer. See more »

Goofs

The first time William Shatner enters the classroom, a microphone is visible at the top of the frame for a full ten seconds. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Morton: [refering to handbill about protest rally] In our own printshop! On our own presses! How could this happen?
Printing Teacher: Well like I said, we're understaffed. Not a bad little job, but the spacing could be a little better here...
Mr. Morton: You may go!
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Connections

Referenced in Mommy's Day (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Wait for Me
By Hal Borne
Sung by Kim Charney (as Kimm Charney)
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User Reviews

 
Very dated but also very interesting
20 September 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Progressive teacher Peter Gifford (William Shatner) allows the students in his class to write essays about anything they want. Most write about sex and their feelings about it. One student tells her mother, other parents find out, go crazy about their kids talking about sex in school (this WAS 1961) and order the principal (Edward Platt!!!) to fire Gifford. He does but the students led by Bobby (Billy Grey), Dan (Lee Kinsolving) and Janet (Patricia McCormack) decide to fight back. But will they win?

This film is laughably dated but still is not bad at all. The kids naivety is actually pretty interesting and the parents overreaction is convincing. This could have become a camp classic but competence at every level makes it work. The acting is pretty good--this is before Shatner became full of himself and it's amusing to see McCormack all grown up from "The Bad Seed". However Billy Grey is TERRIBLE in his role. And look for a young Beau Bridges in a few scenes. It's well-written (and based on a true incident) and I really liked how the students fought back in a non-violent fashion. Also well-directed in stark black & white. It also treats the teenagers (and parents) with respect. The ending was a little TOO goody-goody but still worked.

Worth seeing as a (I think) pretty accurate look at teen life back in 1961. Recommended.


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