Crime in the Streets (1956) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Social worker tries to befriend local slum gang.

  • On a city's mean streets, the boys join gangs at 15. Frankie leads the Hornets: he's 18, seething, coiled. When a neighbor goes to the cops after seeing one of the Hornets with a zip gun, Frankie vows to kill the old guy, hatching a plan using Lou, who smiles and smokes, and "Baby," the 15-year-old son of an immigrant shopkeeper. Ben Wagner, the social worker at a neighborhood settlement house, gets wind of the plan and tries to break through to Frankie. Frankie's brother Richie, who's about 12, worships and fears Frankie; he also figures out what his brother is up to. Is Frankie doomed to crash and burn at 18?

  • The Hornets are a youth gang led by eighteen year old Frankie Dane, they who rule their inner city slum neighborhood with iron fists. Frankie is angry at the world for dealing him the cards he has in life, including living in a run down one room apartment with what's left of his family, and his father deserting him and his mother over a decade ago. Frankie's angry emotional issues are largely manifested by not letting anyone touch him for any reason. The gang rumbles to show their territory, and will retaliate against any other gang or person for going against them. Most adults in the neighborhood don't like the fact of the gang, but deal with their presence in different ways. If Mr. McAllister had his way, they would all be thrown in jail. Soda shop owner Mr. Gioia, whose fifteen year old son Angelo - who everyone calls Baby - is a member of the gang, yells at and overly disciplines his son to make him not get involved in gang activities. Mrs. Dane, who is constantly working as a waitress, feels tired and thus helpless to do anything, while she prays that her younger son, Frankie's half brother Richie, doesn't turn to the gang when he gets older. But social worker Ben Wagner wants to be a sympathetic adult ear to help show the boys that there is a better world out there for them, much like an adult did for him when he was an at risk youth himself. After Mr. McAllister reports Lenny, one of the gang members, to the police for carrying a concealed gun which results in an incident with Frankie, Frankie decides that, with Baby and another gang member named Lou's help, he is going to kill Mr. McAllister, murder which is further than anything the gang has ever done. Mr. Wagner gets wind that Frankie is contemplating killing someone, not knowing the who, where or when, so has to try to get through to Frankie quickly without divulging to Frankie what he knows. Mr. Wagner has to do so before Frankie throws his, and by association his family, Mr. McAllister, Baby and Lou's lives away.



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