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The Blackboard Jungle (Sous-titres franais)
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Blackboard Jungle, The (DVD)
Novelist Evan Hunter burst America's postwar bubble when he described an inner-city school terrorized by switchblade-wielding juvenile delinquents. Director-screenwriter Richard Brooks's 1955 adaptation of Blackboard Jungle still packs a tremendous wallop (even if it was shot mostly on the back lot). A forerunner of Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, this black-and-white classic--set to Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock"--is part exposé, part melodrama, part public-service announcement. "It is the frankest, the toughest, the most realistic film since On the Waterfront," ballyhooed MGM at the time.
Glenn Ford, at his slow-to-rile best, plays Richard Dadier, an incoming English teacher at North Manual High School. An idealist who knows how to handle himself in a dark alley, Dadier stands his ground and earns the begrudging respect of school thugs led by Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier. Anne Francis plays Ford's especially vulnerable wife; Richard Kiley (later in Brooks's Looking for Mr. Goodbar) is the timid math teacher with the priceless jazz-record collection; Louis Calhern and John Hoyt are among the more cynical North Manual High veterans. See if you can ID Jamie Farr and director Paul Mazursky as gang members. The film was nominated for four Oscars. --Glenn Lovell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Gregory Miller, played by Sidney Poitier, is pinpointed by Dadier as the leader of the students. Dadier wants to reach Miller in hopes at reaching other students. But it is soon discovered that Artie West and his student gang rule the school.
Dadier foiled an attempted sexual assault (against another teacher, Ms. Hammond) by one of the students in the gang. The other members vow revenge on Dadier. In the end of the film, West attacks Dadier with a knife and Miller comes to the aid of Dadier.
For me, I feel that the main message about teenagers/youth culture was that kids were often labeled as delinquents without fully understanding them. Dadier assumed that all of the students were problem students, yet really it was a select few. Also, such students', growing up in poorer families, seemed to be labeled as delinquents and thus not much is expected of them or their future. Dadier tries to change this by showing his students that he does care about all of them.
Even though this film was created almost 55 years ago, I think it does a decent job capturing the realities of some youth cultures. I, myself, can not relate to such deviance in school, but I can imagine for those who grew up in urban areas, that students are much more disrespectful, abusive and delinquent, just like they are depicted in the film.
I liked that the film focused on a teacher who was willing to fight for the students. While watching this movie, I am reminded of the film Dangerous Minds. Both movies contain teachers who don't back down from a challenge. They help the students because they want to, not because they have too.
Most of all, the movie introduced me and a million other kids to Rock and Roll. I remember listening spellbound to "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets at the end of the movie. Something, I perceived in my little noodle brain, had changed -- and nothing would ever be the same again.
Most recent customer reviews
1955's "The Blackboard Jungle" remains a poignant, relevant portrayal of life in America's public schools. Read morePublished on Sept. 14 2002 by K. Jump
Filmmakers through their motion pictures often reflect or mirror traits or problems with society. Some filmmakers even affect society by their works. Read morePublished on March 19 2002 by hille2000
I first saw this movie in the early 70s on TV and have rented it numerous times since the advent of VHS. Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2000 by drew behr
It has a certain sentimental value to be but it sure earns that five stars. This is a film with a socially commenting relative plot which along the way had many small moments. Read morePublished on May 30 1999
Amazing as it seems, all these decades later, the sound was turned down by the theater during the opening credits. Read morePublished on April 16 1999
although Blackboard Jungle is at times interesting and a bit disturbing, it is not a gang or delinquency drama as it is often believed. Read morePublished on March 11 1999