Rival gangs in a small city are escalating their violence: the Pepper Tree Gang of poor whites and a group from the Mexican section of town have traded an eye for an eye. The Mexican gang, led by Danny, is having a dance that night at their new club; the police think the Pepper Tree Gang will show up to fight. A lieutenant asks Danny to agree to a truce, and Danny takes a walk to think about it - going over the last nine years of his life in an angry world that's made him feel isolated and unloved. He thinks back to a friend's death when they were 10. He has an insight into his past and he goes to the lieutenant. Is there a path out of violence? Written by
Based on a true story of a truce between Anglo and Mexican gangs in Los Angeles, California in the early 1950s. The Anglo and Mexican gangs are played by the actual Anglo and Mexican gangs who reached the truce. The gangs had script supervision, went by their own actual names and nicknames, and chose who would play which role. See more »
Sid Davis isn't a name most people know but he produced many "message" pictures that are currently being re-discovered on TCM Underground. Subjects ranged from drug abuse to STDs and racial hatred, which is the category this short falls into. Here we see a white gang and a Mexican gang getting into fights for reasons that they don't even know. A caring police officer finally makes both sit down together and discuss their feelings. The entire message of this picture could be laughed off but you have to give the film credit that it's heart was in the right place. As with most films from Davis, this one here was shot doubt with narration and other items editing it later. This brings a certain cheapness to the film and this is especially noticeable whenever the dialogue is added over the lips and it's never matching. I did find this short, running 27-minutes, to be a little better than some of the other Davis shorts I've seen because there were a few shocking moments in the film including a rather violent death sequence that I won't ruin but you'll certainly notice it when it happens. The color also helps as it really brings out some of the clothes being worn at the time as well as the many locations used. Another plus is the fact that the gang in the film were real gang members who really hated each other at the time. This isn't the greatest movie ever made and God knows there have been many better films dealing with gangs but this here isn't too bad if you have the time to kill.
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