THE BIG NIGHT
1951, Park Circus, 75 min, USA, Dir: Joseph Losey

George LeMain (John Barrymore Jr.) “celebrates” his 16th birthday by witnessing his father (Preston Foster) stoically absorb a dreadful beating from a mysterious local operator. The youngster seeks answers - and revenge - during an all night odyssey through downtown L.A., making this a truly noir coming-of-age tale. Losey abandoned the film during editing, fleeing to England after being subpoenaed by HUAC; co-screenwriters Hugo Butler and Ring Lardner Jr. adapted Stanley Ellin’s novel Dreadful Summit but were denied credit and blacklisted (along with supporting players Dorothy Comingore and Howland Chamberlain).


HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL!
1958, MGM/Cinema Associates, 85 min, USA, Dir: Jack Arnold

“Behind these ‘nice’ school walls – a teacher’s nightmare! A teen-age jungle!” More interested in studying marijuana than mathematics, tough new kid Tony Baker (Russ Tamblyn) makes a beeline for the wrong crowd in this fast-paced exploitation fave. The cast is as wild as the action, with memorable appearances from slumming Hollywood scions Charlie Chaplin, Jr. and John Drew Barrymore, recovering teenage werewolf Michael Landon and the immortal Mamie Van Doren as Tony’s hot-to-trot aunt. Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis sings the classic title song.


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