Is it safe to say, if you’ve seen one film about juvenile delinquency, you’ve seen them all?
That’s not to say all films from the 1950s about teenage delinquents were bad, but that these films were more-or-less about the older generation making sometimes vague and blanket-covering statements about teens and their lack of concern and intelligence.
They can be good time capsules for the 1950s, like watching an entire generation throw up an S.O.S. signal to their children.
“Blackboard Jungle” works in much the same way, but stays relevant by being one of the first films to use a rock-and-roll song, in this case “Rock Around the Clock,” as well as being the breakout role for a young Sidney Poitier, who gives a cool-headed performance in a film filled with overacting teens.
Nothing too spectacular about “Blackboard Jungle” outside of its approach, with trying to be understanding to both teens and adults in trying to understand where the other is coming from. This is admirable, especially for 1955, and it would have been easy to paint one side as the villain and ambiguity was a rarity.
Final Grade: C+