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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Crime In The Streets (1956)

After a neighbor (Malcolm Atterbury) reports a gang member (Jimmy Ogg) to the police, the gang's leader (John Cassavetes) plots to kill the snitch. But the other hoodlums aren't so sure they want to go as far as murder. Awful! Perfectly dreadful! A typical 1950s "these kids aren't bad, just misunderstood" socially conscious flick and phony as Hell. The kind of bad proselytizing passing itself off as drama so prevalent in the 50s like 12 ANGRY MEN which, not surprisingly, was written by the same guy, Reginald Rose. It's based on a TV play directed by Sidney Lumet, Don Siegel directs the movie version, and it feels like it. One can practically see where the commercial breaks were inserted. Maybe if the gangs had broken out in song and dance like WEST SIDE STORY, it might have alleviated the tedium. It makes one appreciate the ones that got it right like REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. It has two good things going for it. A strong performance by Virginia Gregg as Cassavetes' mother, the only character I had any feeling for and a nice jazz score by Franz Waxman. With James Whitmore as a creepy social worker, Sal Mineo, Will Kuluva and Mark Rydell, who later turned to directing (ON GOLDEN POND).

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