Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


CRIME IN THE STREETS (1956). Director: Don Siegel.

Frankie Dane (John Cassavetes) is a troubled, aimless youth full of rage that has nowhere to go. Annoyed by an older man (Malcolm Atterbury) who snitched on one of his pals, Dane importunes two buddies to help him fulfill a plot to murder the guy. These friends include young Angelo (Sal Mineo, fine as usual) and Lou (Mark Rydell, who plays the character somewhat stereotypically gay). James Whitmore is fine as a social worker who tries to help Dane and the other boys, and Virginia Gregg gives the performance of her career as Frankie's mother, who just doesn't know how to deal with him. Will Kuluva is also notable as Angelo's troubled father, Mr. Gioia. Cassevetes, in his film debut, offers a knock-out portrayal, and Peter Votrian as his sensitive little brother, Richie, is also memorable. Reginald Rose's script is full of interesting characters and heart-felt moments, although the film may seem dated in its seeming belief that there are no sociopaths but just "misunderstood" boys. [A lot of viewers may feel that what nasty Frankie needs is not understanding but a good swift kick in the derriere.] Still, this is an interesting film with many good moments, an excellent Cassevetes, and an absolutely outstanding Gregg. NOTE: This has just been released on DVD as part of Warner Brothers Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 5.

Verdict: Raw emotion served up with relish -- and possibly Gregg's finest hour. ***.

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