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The Hoodlum Priest (1961)

 -  Drama  -  26 March 1961 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 240 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

Based on the life of Fr. Charles Clark, a minister to street gangs.

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Title: The Hoodlum Priest (1961)

The Hoodlum Priest (1961) on IMDb 6.7/10

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Murray ...
Father Charles Dismas Clark
Larry Gates ...
Louis Rosen
...
Ellen Henley
...
Billy Lee Jackson
Logan Ramsey ...
George Hale
Don Joslyn ...
Pio Gentile
Sam Capuano ...
Mario Mazziotti
Vince O'Brien ...
Assistant District Attorney
Al Mack ...
Judge Garrity
Lou Martini ...
Angelo Mazziotri
Norman McKay ...
Father Dunne
Joseph Cusanelli ...
Hector Sterne
Bill Atwood ...
Weasel
Roger Ray ...
Detective Shattuck
Kelly Stephens ...
Genny
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Storyline

Based on the life of Fr. Charles Clark, a minister to street gangs.

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

26 March 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Hoodlum Priest  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Trivia

Concerned that the critics would not be kind to an actor appearing in a film he wrote, DON MURRAY penned the screenplay under the pseudonym "Don Deer", his nickname as a track and field athlete in High school (Rockaway, NY). See more »

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User Reviews

Well-meaning but Arty
27 January 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Irv Kerschner, who was George Lucas' teacher at USC and later directed one of his pupil's Star Trek features, made this glossy well-meaning melodrama released by United Artists in 1961. Shot on location in St. Louis and featuring the semi-documentary but often overly self-conscious B&W cinematography of Haskell Wekler, the story is based on the real life story of a Jesuit priest --perhaps the first man in America to set up a half-way house for ex-cons. Although its heart is in the right place, and the film makes the plea that the criminal justice system in the United States only serves to criminalize young offenders rather than reform them, Kershner cannot resist all the obvious opportunities to be arty: chases through railroad yards and into abandoned buildings with broken furniture and boarded-up windows providing the right shadows on the wall. He also hammers home his point by squeezing out the last drop of melodrama from the shaky plot, including a totally implausible electric chair sequence with the priest admitted into the chamber as his hoodlum friend is about to be electrocuted. The film tries to have its cake and eat it, too. In real life the Irish priest was helped to build his halfway house by a Russian-Jewish immigrant attorney, Morris Shenker, but the film homogenizes their relationship; the young offenders somehow feel as if they dropped out of "West Side Story," made the same year, because they were unable to sing and dance.


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