Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Blackboard Jungle

Hello everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the long Labor Day weekend. Summer is over, or at least that's what society tells us. Considering it's 90+ degrees outside, I beg to differ. However, the time after Labor Day is indeed Back to School time, when we turn our thoughts from beaches and barbecues to books and binders. It's a busy time and an anxious time, but here at Me and You, I try to find the positive and the entertaining in the situation. Case in point: this week's Tuesday's Overlooked Film, the 1955 classic Blackboard Jungle.

Based on a novel by Evan Hunter, Blackboard Jungle stars Glenn Ford as a high school teacher trying to bring education and hope to the angry, delinquent students in his class. Classmates include future legend Sidney Poitier, the late Vic Morrow, and M*A*S*H alum Jamie Farr (credited in the film by his real name, Jamille Farrar). Despite being rejected by both the students and by the staff around him, Ford sallies forth to show the students a better path.

Blackboard Jungle is one of the first in the "teacher making a difference" subgenre of drama, and is a template for future films such as Stand and Deliver and Dangerous Minds. The film is also interesting in that we get to see big stars in their earliest roles. Finally, it introduced the song "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets to the mainstream, helping the rise of rock'n'roll.

The movie is readily available on DVD and streaming services, so it's easy to track down.

There's the bell--don't be late for class!


Kelly Robinson said...

I've never seen this, though I know it was pretty popular in its time. I know it better as a movie that other movies are compared too—as you said, it spawned a genre.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Thanks Kelly!


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