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Robert Allen Schnitzer
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After Stanley buys the ring for Frannie, Stanley starts walking with his right arm over Frannie, and his left arm over Annie. In the very next shot, his right arm is over Annie, and his left arm is over Frannie. See more »
In 1958 Brooklyn, we follow the Lords (or grammatically incorrect "Lord's", according to their jackets and the main title), a group of leather-wearing, greased-haired, immature, high school tough guys. At the head of the gang is Stanley (Sylvester Stallone), an intimidating thug with a guarded heart of gold, who's in a dilemma when his rough-talking girl Frannie (Maria Smith) announces she's pregnant. Her best friend Annie (Renee Paris) is dating the handsome Chico (Perry King), but Chico only uses her for sex while really setting his eyes on the new girl in school (Susan Blakely). Butchey (Henry Winkler) is the most bright of the Lords, and could make something better of himself if he wanted. Wimpy (Paul Mace) is a short member of the group who hangs out with his friends for the security it gives him.
Most of what occurs on screen has no plot, and consists of vignettes with its cast members. Stallone fares best of all, and some good moments include him bullying a rival gang member in a pool hall, and especially the film's best scene near the end that takes place inside a jewelry store, when Frannie and Annie push Sly into buying a $1600 engagement ring against his will. Henry Winker's promising part was, unfortunately, under-written... but he's got one good scene occurring after hours alone in the local candy store hangout, where the shop owner tries to drill some sense into his head about how much more wisely he could be spending his time. Perry King's Chico is the main character, but he's such a jerk in the movie that he's hard for us to invest in.
Ultimately, the movie has a good deal of problems and is only average. At best, this is watchable to me every few years as being one of those nostalgic guilty pleasures that I first saw in the theater when I was around 11 (it even featured the now-defunct Sunrise Drive-In, which was not far from where I lived back then). It's a very cheap film that was shot on 16mm and blown up, which accounts for its rough looking quality, and also for some poor sound issues that make it difficult to discern occasional dialogue. It's got a 1970s rock n roll soundtrack of made up '50s tunes of varying quality, some of which drown out moments of talking at times. But it's still worth at least one viewing to see a young Sylvester Stallone (who would later become ROCKY) and Henry Winkler (in a rough draft for his Fonzie character of HAPPY DAYS) getting to shine in a couple of brief moments. ** out of ****
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