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

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Good-looking couple: Mark Damon and Lili Gentle
YOUNG AND DANGEROUS (1957). Producer/director: William F. Claxton.

19-year-old Tommy Price (Mark Damon) is considered a "bad boy" who spends all of his time chasing bad girls for "all-night petting parties" and showing no signs of doing anything with his life, to the consternation of his father, Dr. Price (Edward Binns). But when Tommy goes on a date with 17-year-old Rosemary (Lili Gentle) -- which initially goes badly -- she brings out some of the inner sensitivity that was always inside of him. But can they convince his parents that he's changed? This mis-titled film sounds like a typical juvenile delinquent-jukebox melodrama, but while it's certainly no East of Eden, it is a well-done and quite well-acted romance. Damon and Gentle not only play together beautifully, but they are very good actors. Gentle married Richard D. Zanuck (son of Darryl) the following year -- their marriage lasted a decade -- and only made two more movies before retiring. Damon made some other teen movies, appeared with Vincent Price in House of Usher and with Boris Karloff in Black Sabbath -- he made several films in Italy -- and is now a successful producer. Handsome and with considerable acting ability, Damon was geared for a major stardom that never quite materialized. Dabbs Greer and Ann Doran offer strong support as Rosemary's parents, and Binns is fine as Tommy's father. One very long sequence, filmed in one shot without cutting, shows Tommy's friends "Weasel" (George Brenlin) and Roscoe (uncredited) in a phone booth trying to make a date with an "old reliable" girlfriend. Meant to be comedy relief, it just stops the picture dead. Produced in widescreen for Regal pictures, this was released by Twentieth Century-Fox.William F. Claxton later directed the lovably notorious creature feature Night of the Lepus.

Verdict: Not bad light drama with very appealing leads. ***.

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