What better way to mark the return of the school year than with the absurdity of those over-the- top Juvenile Delinquent films of the 1950s and 1960s?
HIGH SCHOOL CAESAR (1960) – John Ashley, who was about as menacing as Ned Flanders, plays a bitter rich teenage punk who runs illegal operations at his high school like a junior version of organized crime. The title is a reference to Little Caesar, the gangster movie with Edward G Robinson.
Ashley’s JD character peddles the answers to exams, rigs school elections and bilks money from his classmates. All of this is played so seriously you will die laughing. There’s also the obligatory Drag Race and OF COURSE someone dies while drag racing. My Bad Movie page has a full-length review of this one if you’re interested.
SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROCK! (1956) – In this hilarious movie Rock and Roll music is blamed for the Juvenile Delinquency epidemic of the 1950’s. Not only does one particularly irrational city ban rock music completely but it puts the local rock DJ on trial!
They hold him accountable for the vandalism and other JD activities that hit the town because, by their logic, the “wild” music he played CAUSED the teenagers to commit their crimes. This is hilariously bad and stars Mike “Touch” Connors as the scapegoated Disc Jockey.
HOT ROD GANG (1958) – The ever-bland John Ashley strikes again! Teenage slang runs amok in this achingly funny film that also features some of the lamest rear-projection work imaginable during some of the drag racing scenes. Ashley tries to sing like Elvis, races hot rods, gets in fights with some of the local hoods and romances Jody Fair in his spare time.
To save the local teen hangout Ashley’s character plans to win the prize money in a car race. To raise the entry fee he disguises himself as a rock singer and, under the alias “Jackson Dalrymple”, becomes a sensation.
UNTAMED YOUTH (1957) – A predatory cotton farmer manipulates a lonely female judge into sentencing teenage delinquents to work in his cotton fields. Once the evil farmer has the JD’s in his power he treats them as slave labor and even extorts sexual favors from some of the more attractive females.
This baby combines the exploitation thrills of women in prison movies with the usual JD potboiler nonsense. Mamie Van Doren, rock singer Eddie Cochran, Lori Nelson and Lawman’s John Russell star in this non-stop orgy of unintentional laughs. Mamie’s singing is as lame as ever in this anti-classic.
DIARY OF A HIGH SCHOOL BRIDE (1959) – A young girl who used to run with “a bad crowd” seems to be turning her life around when she marries a Bland White Guy while she’s still in high school. The wild crowd of JD’s that she used to run with try to draw her back into their lifestyle of criminal “kicks”.
So campy it’s virtually a spoken-language opera! Tony Casanova himself sings the title song, which features wonderful lyrics like “The days she was lo-o-nelyyy/ The ni-i-ights that she criiiiiiied/ The diary of a high school briiiiiiiide!” They don’t write them like that anymore!
GIRLS TOWN (1959) – Mamie Van Doren joins Paul Anka – who made his acting debut in this flick – for the title song! The title institution is a reform school for female JD’s and is run by two-fisted nuns. Mamie’s character, named “Silver” like the Lone Ranger’s horse, winds up sentenced to Girls Town when she is mistakenly implicated in the death of her boyfriend Chip (Harold Lloyd, Jr).
Her sister, who is NOT named after Trigger or any other horse, is played by Elinor Donahue and was the one really involved in Chip’s death. Mel Torme as a pudgy JD joins Charley Chaplin Jr, Ray Anthony, Dick Contino, Gloria Talbot, James Mitchum and Jody Fair in an unforgettable ride.
THE PARTY CRASHERS (1958) – Connie Stevens, Bobby Driscoll, Matt Damon, Frances Farmer and Denver Pyle star in this unintentionally hilarious movie about a group of JD’s whose M.O. is to crash parties at upper-class homes, help themselves to food, drink and women and then vandalize the place.
Connie is torn between her bland boyfriend and the sleazy leader of the Party Crashers. All the teenagers are spoiled and unlikeable and all the adults are alcoholics or bloated rich pigs. This movie is one long laugh festival!
THE CRY BABY KILLER (1958) – Jack Nicholson made his acting debut in this Roger Corman production. Jack plays a JD who mistakenly thinks he has shot two rival gang members to death and, believing he has nothing to lose, grabs hostages and holes up in a standoff with the police.
A media circus results as news crews come in to cover the incident and talking heads ponder the juvenile delinquency phenomenon. In better hands this could have provided riveting social commentary, but because it’s a Corman quickie it’s good just for laughs and a silly title song. Brett Halsey, Carolyn Mitchell, Bruno Ve Sota and Corman himself make appearances in this cult classic.
HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL (1958) – Jerry Lee Lewis sings the opening song in this campy classic! Russ Tamblyn plays Tony Baker, a sneering high school punk looking to get ahead in the drug-pushing game. Mamie Van Doren plays his seductive “Aunt”, Jody Fair plays a jonesing teenager, Jackie Coogan plays a drug lord, Ray Anthony a gunsel and Michael Landon portrays a hot-rod racing football player.
John Drew Barrymore, the son of silent film star John Barrymore and the father of actress Drew Barrymore, plays a teen marijuana dealer who delivers an all-slang rendition of Columbus’ discovery of America. It’s very educational!
FOR MORE MOVIES WITH CASEY CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/06/16/supermodel-casey-james-presents-the-strangest-biker-movies-of-all-time/
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