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

Thursday, June 7, 2018

THE PARTY CRASHERS

Bobby Driscoll
THE PARTY CRASHERS (1958). Director: Bernard Girard.

Teenager Barbara (Connie Stevens) is torn between two boys: her nice, quiet steady Josh (Bobby Driscoll) and the sexy bad boy Twig (Mark Damon of Black Sabbath). Twig enjoys crashing parties and causing trouble, and his home life sucks, as his father (Walter Brooke of Conquest of Space) is a drunk and his mother (Doris Dowling) is always going off to "the movies" dressed to the nines. Everything comes to a head when Josh grudgingly agrees to crash a party at a motel lodge because Barbara insists she'll go with someone else, probably Twig, if he doesn't take her. The teens discover that grown-ups can be just as drunk and nasty as anyone. The Party Crashers is an interesting picture with good performances from the leads, as well as Brooke and Dowling. Frances Farmer [Son of Fury] is cast as Josh's sympathetic mother and Denver Pyle as his father, and Onslow Stevens and Cathy Lewis [The Devil at 4 O'Clock] play Barbara's parents; all are effective. Even with some more character development this low-budget Paramount flick might never have been an East of Eden, but it's not as trashy and dumb as some other "Juvenile delinquent" pictures of the era. Bobby Driscoll was a former child star who won a special Oscar and died tragically at age 31. This was the last film for him and Farmer, although both did TV work afterward. Bernard Girard also directed As Young As We Are and The Mad Room.

Verdict: B movie simmers but never quite comes to a boil. **1/2.

2 comments:

angelman66 said...

Driscoll was cute; I'm surprised more people don't know about him. What was his biggest claim to fame? I need to see this movie, sounds like it is in keeping with the mid-to-late 50s rebellion films including Blackboard Jungle, Rebel without a Cause and, as you mentioned, East of Eden...
-Chris

William said...

It's probably not as good as any of them but it has its moments and some good acting. Driscoll's most famous film is his juvenile role in "The Window" and I think he also voiced Pinnochio for Disney. He was a busy child actor. He won a special Oscar and wound up buried in Potter's Field at 31 after developing drug problems and being homeless. Tragic, to say the least.