This film was the first British teen movie to actually address the reality of the violent rock and roll society, rather than being a lucid parody of 1950s teenage life. In an attempt to celebrate the work of Liverpool’s Junior Liaison Officers the opening title points out that 92% of potential delinquents, who have been dealt with under this scheme, have not committed a second crime. However, this becomes merely a pretext to the following teen-drama until the film’s epilogue where we are instructed that we shouldn’t feel responsible or sorry for such delinquents however mixed-up they might seem.
The plot, whilst at times predictable, does deliver some memorable scenes. The disruptive influence that rock and roll music was thought to have had is played out in a scene where Johnny abandons himself to the music, leading a menacing advance on the police sergeant. The most grippingly memorable piece of film however is the climatic classroom scene where a bunch of terrified school children, including Mary and Patrick, are held hostage at gunpoint by Johnny. Obviously in the light of the real-life Dumblaine Massacre this scene seems all the horrifying. Understandably because of this the film is seldom available to modern audiences.
cast: Stanley Baker, Anne Heywood, David McCallum, Peter Cushing
106 minutes, B&W, 1958, drama