6.7/10
390
19 user 3 critic

Violent Playground (1958)

Struggle between a Liverpool Juvenile Liaison officer and a young and dangerous pyromaniac.

Director:

Basil Dearden

Writer:

James Kennaway (original screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stanley Baker ... Truman
Anne Heywood ... Cathie
David McCallum ... Johnnie Murphy
Peter Cushing ... Priest
John Slater ... Sgt. Walker
Clifford Evans ... Heaven
Moultrie Kelsall ... Superintendent
George A. Cooper ... Chief Inspector
Brona Boland Brona Boland ... Mary Murphy
Fergal Boland Fergal Boland ... Patrick Murphy
Michael Chow ... Alexander
Tsai Chin ... Primrose
Sean Lynch ... Slick
Bernice Swanson Bernice Swanson ... Meg (as Benice Swanson)
Freddie Starr ... Tommy (as Fred Fowell)
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Storyline

Struggle between a Liverpool Juvenile Liaison officer and a young and dangerous pyromaniac.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

teenager | rock music | See All (2) »

Taglines:

EVERY CITY HAS ITS DANGEROUS YOUTH. Stark, explosive drama - as the camera lays bare the heart of a big city and probe the secrets of its Violent Playground.

Genres:

Drama | Crime

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1958 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Desperat ungdom See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Rank Organisation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Shot July-September 1957, copyright 1958. See more »

Goofs

Despite its Liverpool setting not a single character speaks with a Merseyside (Liverpool) accent in the entire film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Empire of the Censors (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Play Rough
Sung by Johnny Luck (Fontana Recording Artist)
Lyric by Paddy Roberts
Music by Philip Green (as Phil Green)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tough on the causes of crime
20 April 2018 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

Sadly when you watch a film that is 60 years old, you may be lucky if only one or two members of the cast are still alive. As of April 2018, Violent Playground has several members of cast not only alive but still performing such as David McCallum, Michael Chow, Tsai Chin, Freddie Starr and Melvyn Hayes.

Director Basil Dearden as he did in Sapphire and would go on to do in Victim, makes a melodrama dealing with social issues.

Set in post war Liverpool, Stanley Baker plays Detective Truman, he is unmarried, has no kids and he is assigned to work in the with a juvenile division, something he is not keen on. His brief is to stop youngsters living in the poverty ridden part of the city, entering a life of crime.

He ends up dealing with a pair of young twins who were caught shoplifting. Truman is comfortable at first dealing with the kids but as he takes them home to their block of flats he comes to a bunch of older unruly youths such as their older brother Johnnie (McCallum) who might be behind a string of arson in the city. Truman also gets involved romantically with Johnnie's sister.

Johnnie is rather unhinged, in the past he was feted a hero but the film climaxes as Johnnie holds young children in a school hostage in an armed seige.

The film is not totally convincing as it seems the director is uncomfortable in how to deal with the social justice aspects of the story. It wants to be The Blackboard Jungle but it does not get there. Many of the actors have non Scouse accents which is a surprise as McCallum was supposed to be an early British actor influenced by the method acting techniques. Baker's character gets too comfortable, too early as a Juvenile officer, able to understand the issues facing the young kids, although that might be just to expedite the story. Some of the scenes of the youths enjoying rock n roll music and dancing to it just looks silly, making a link to music and juvenile delinquency.


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