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Saturday, November 22, 2014

This Rebel Breed (1960)

At a high school filled with racial tension and drug problems, two young cops go undercover as high school students. One (Mark Damon) passing himself off a half black/half Mexican attempts to join the black gang while the other blonde cop (Douglas Hume) attempts to join the white supremacist gang. Meanwhile, a romantic relationship between a Mexican girl (Rita Moreno) and a Caucasian boy (Don Eitner) leads to a killing. Make no mistake about it, this film is a pure exploitation flick utilizing headlines of the day to make their film "relevant". Yet there's more honesty, more realism about racial tension than in more mainstream movies at that time dealing with the subject (yes, THE DEFIANT ONES, I'm talking about you). At times, the movie veers toward the laughable sanctimoniousness of stuff like HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL as when a policeman (Gerald Mohr) lectures the kids on the brotherhood of man or when a thug (Richard Rust) force black kids to smoke marijuana to get them hooked. The 100% on location shooting on the streets of L.A. adds to the authenticity and gives the film a gritty quality. Directed by Richard L. Bare. The film was later re-issued with added scenes in a T&A version called BLACK REBELS. Also starring a very young Dyan Cannon, Al Freeman Jr., Jay Novello and Tom Gilson.

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