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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

High School Confidential (1958)

A brash, new transfer (Russ Tamblyn) to a middle class high school attempts to muscle his way into the local drug scene by challenging the ringleader (John Drew Barrymore) of the school's hipsters and stealing away his pothead girlfriend (Diane Jergens). Directed by Jack Arnold (CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON), this is one of those naive (simple minded?) cautionary tales of those crazy marijuana smokin' teen-aged hopheads who go from pot to heroin in a micro second. The film is pure kitsch with scenes to savor like Jergens having the shakes because she needs some weed or Mamie Van Doren as Tamblyn's "aunt" slinking around the house in tight sweaters biting out of apples as she tries to seduce him and best of all, Phillipa Fallon as a beatnik poetess reciting Tomorrow Is A Drag which has to be heard to be believed. The film is a hoot and genuinely outrageous and there's nothing like it except maybe BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS to compare it to. It transcends mere "camp" into ..... well, I don't think a word has been invented for it yet. Jerry Lee Lewis sings the rockin' title song and the cast includes Jan Sterling as a sexy high school teacher, Michael Landon, Jackie Coogan, Ray Anthony and Robin Raymond.

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