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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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (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:
... Richard Dadier
... Anne Dadier
... Jim Murdock
... Lois Judby Hammond
... Mr. Warneke
... Joshua Y. Edwards
... Mr. Halloran
... Dr. Bradley
... Prof. A.R. Kraal
... Gregory W. Miller
... Artie West
... Belazi
... Pete V. Morales
... Emmanuel Stoker
... 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 March 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Blackboard Jungle  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film launched the rock 'n' roll era, especially in American movies, by using "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets as its theme. The song was chosen for the titles after it was heard among records owned by Peter Ford, son of the film's star, Glenn Ford (proving phony the original belief that the producer's daughter had discovered the song.) "Rock Around the Clock" had not been largely ignored until it was heard in the movie, after which it soon shot to No. 1 around the world, and eventually sold an estimated 25 million copies. In an embarrassing miscalculation, MGM could have owned the complete rights to the song, but it ignored writer/director Richard Brooks's advice to buy it outright; instead, being penny-wise and pound-foolish, for a few dollars less, the studio merely purchased the film-use rights to the mega-hit song. See more »

Goofs

In the garage scene, when Miller starts fixing the car, he says "nobody gives a hoot", but his lips indicates he really says "nobody gives a damn". The replacement of the profanity is made humorous by the director, who chose to play the sound effect of a car horn when the word "hoot" is uttered. See more »

Quotes

Joshua Y. Edwards: They don't even know their multiplication tables.
Jim Murdock: Of course not. All they can multiply is themselves.
Joshua Y. Edwards: Well, how will they ever graduate?
Jim Murdock: Graduate? They just get to be 18. Then they throw them out to make room for more of the same kind.
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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 »


Soundtracks

Go Down Moses
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by Miller and his vocal group
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Rebel with a Cause
2 July 2009 | by See all my reviews

Blackboard Jungle (1955)

There is so much intensity and visual punch to this socially concerned schoolhouse narrative, it's hard to not overlook the pushiness of some of the plot and the blatant stereotyping of most of the characters. Glen Ford is, in fact, truly commanding here, and he becomes the movie. Most of the rest, really all the rest, are supporting roles, and not all of them do him credit. And this comes not from lack of talent, but from a script that has too many little agendas at work. Hey, but they are important and interesting agendas, so fear not. It's exciting going every step of the way.

Even young Sydney Poitier, for all his charm and ease on screen, is forced into a role, as a reluctant but talented student, that makes him a two-dimensional, and his relationship with Ford is pushed on us at the expense of the others. Some of the other teachers are convincing in their own ways, most of all Louis Calhern as a grumpy and jaded older teacher who expects the worst and gets it. There are moments of high drama that work--mostly violence or the avoidance of violence--and there are moments too contrived and too foreshadowed to contribute very much. The female teacher is set up to tempt the determined Ford main character, and she plays out in expected ways.

It might be a testament, actually, that the movie grabs you and won't let go even with these storytelling flaws. For one thing, it looks great (with photography by Russell Harlan) and is edited crisply, so technically it soars (and in a vivid widescreen black and white, not 4:3 like IMDb says). The director, Richard Brooks, clearly makes the most of the material. His career has left us a number of almost great movies, and this might be his greatest. It seems to have had the most impact in its time, sparking violence in the theaters where it was shown. And by using "Rock Around the Clock" it helped make Bill Halley and Comets and white rock and roll hugely popular.

But as just a movie, on the screen, it is Ford who takes on the subtle turmoils going on in his character's head, and you read it in his face and his stiff body language, and you believe him.


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