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Blackboard Jungle (1955)

Approved | | Crime , Drama | 25 March 1955 (USA)
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A new English teacher at a violent, unruly inner-city school is determined to do his job, despite resistance from both students and faculty.

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writers:

Richard Brooks (screenplay), Evan Hunter (novel)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenn Ford ... Richard Dadier
Anne Francis ... Anne Dadier
Louis Calhern ... Jim Murdock
Margaret Hayes ... Lois Judby Hammond
John Hoyt ... Mr. Warneke
Richard Kiley ... Joshua Y. Edwards
Emile Meyer ... Mr. Halloran
Warner Anderson ... Dr. Bradley
Basil Ruysdael ... Prof. A.R. Kraal
Sidney Poitier ... Gregory W. Miller
Vic Morrow ... Artie West
Dan Terranova ... Belazi
Rafael Campos ... Pete V. Morales
Paul Mazursky ... Emmanuel Stoker
Horace McMahon ... Detective
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Storyline

War veteran Rick Dadier is one of three new teachers hired at North Manual High School, an inner city boys school. This is his first teaching assignment, which he needs to support himself and his insecure pregnant wife, Anne. Despite Principle Warnecke's assertions to the contrary, Dadier quickly learns that the rumors of student discipline problems at the school are indeed true. The established teachers at the school try to counsel the newcomers, all inexperienced in such situations, as how best to handle the rowdy students. Regardless, Dadier tries to exert discipline in his class, which provokes a violent response. Dadier believes the student leaders against him are Artie West, but more specifically Gregory Miller, who he thinks uses the fact of being black as a means of racial provocation. Dadier has to decide either to leave and teach at a "real" school, or stay and figure out how to get through to his students. If he decides to stay, he has to figure out who the real disruptive ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SHOCKING! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 March 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blackboard Jungle See more »

Filming Locations:

El Segundo, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,168,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$5,292,000, 31 December 1955

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,144,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In many European countries, the movie led to teenage violence in cinemas. See more »

Goofs

As Mr.Dadier is talking to the detective about his attackers,a few of the students are seen entering the classroom twice. See more »

Quotes

Richard Dadier: They can't all be bad kids.
Prof. A.R. Kraal: Why not?
See more »

Crazy Credits

"We, in the United States, are fortunate to have a school system that is a tribute to our communities and to our faith in American youth. Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency -- its causes -- and its effects. We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our schools. The scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional. However, we believe that public awareness is a first step toward a remedy for any problem. Is is in this spirit and with this faith that BLACKBOARD JUNGLE was produced." See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was originally rejected in the UK for containing "unbridled, revolting hooliganism" and having a "damaging and harmful effect (on teenagers)". Following protests from the distributor, it was viewed again but there was an even split between examiners in favor of banning it again or cutting it for an X (16) certificate. After further meetings where the distributor claimed it had a sincere moral purpose, a cuts list was drawn up which removed around five minutes of footage. This included the following:
  • The foreword which absolved the US of blame regarding its realistic depiction - this was added specifically for foreign releases following the huge controversy it caused back home. It reads: "We, in the United States, are fortunate to have a school system that is a tribute to our communities and to our faith in American youth. Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency -- its causes -- and its effects. We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our schools. The scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional. However, we believe that public awareness is a first step toward a remedy for any problem. It is in this spirit and with this faith that BLACKBOARD JUNGLE was produced."
  • Male pupils leering at women.
  • A boy assaulting a female teacher.
  • Dadier being attacked.
  • Dadier being threatened by a knife-wielding pupil.
  • The planning and execution of a van robbery.
  • Dadier fighting back against a pupil.
Despite the heated conflict involving the BBFC and mixed reviews, the release of this X-rated cut version passed without incident and very little public feedback. No councils who viewed it chose to ban it. In 1996, it was submitted for a video release and passed uncut with a 12 certificate. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Six Degrees of Separation (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Invention for Guitar and Trumpet
Written by Willis Holman (uncredited)
Played by Stan Kenton and His Orchestra
Sal Salvador (guitar) (uncredited)
Maynard Ferguson (trumpet) (uncredited)
Courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"Hey Teach, you're in my classroom now"
24 March 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Blackboard Jungle is one of the seminal films in Glenn Ford's career. As Richard Dadier, newly minted teacher going into one of the inner city schools in New York City, he's nervous, but full of idealism and commitment that he can make a difference in the lives of these kids.

One of the aspects of Blackboard Jungle that is never discussed is the problem, still very much with us today, of illiteracy. For me the key to the whole story is when Ford has to get down to the level of running a movie cartoon of Jack and the Beanstalk in order to communicate with them. That's when he reaches them and also takes control of the situation in his classroom away from the school thug as graphically portrayed by Vic Morrow.

I was involved with someone for many years and his literacy level was very low. It made him angry and unable to handle the world and all the problems he had in life. He had a worse situation than the kids in The Blackboard Jungle. He was raised in a group home where they didn't care at all if you learned anything.

Blackboard Jungle is also memorable for the use of a previously recorded song by Bill Haley and the Comets that sold a few records the year earlier, but didn't set the world on fire. Director Richard Brooks heard it in young Peter Ford's collection and decided it would be his theme. Rock Around the Clock became a rock and roll institution after The Blackboard Jungle was out in theaters.

Blackboard Jungle also started another less fortunate trend. That of picking very obviously adult actors to play high school kids. A trend that has continued to this day with such shows as Beverly Hills 90210 carrying on the tradition. Capable players that they are and they certainly delivered fine performances, Sidney Poitier and Vic Morrow don't look like high school kids, especially not next to Rafael Campos who was in the correct age bracket when the film was being shot.

Teacher burnout is also covered in Blackboard Jungle with Louis Calhern leading the pack of cynics Glenn Ford has as colleagues. In many ways Blackboard Jungle is the grandfather of a film like Stand and Deliver where Edward James Olmos is the dedicated math teacher of inner city kids a generation later. Other than ethnic, not too much difference between Richard Dadier and Jaime Escalante.

Richard Brooks assembled and directed a cast that made a classic that's still agonizingly relevant today.


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