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Blackboard Jungle (1955)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | 25 March 1955 (USA)
Trailer
2:52 | Trailer
A new English teacher at a violent, unruly inner-city school is determined to do his job, despite resistance from both students and faculty.

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writers:

Richard Brooks (screenplay), Evan Hunter (novel)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenn Ford ... Richard Dadier
Anne Francis ... Anne Dadier
Louis Calhern ... Jim Murdock
Margaret Hayes ... Lois Judby Hammond
John Hoyt ... Mr. Warneke
Richard Kiley ... Joshua Y. Edwards
Emile Meyer ... Mr. Halloran
Warner Anderson ... Dr. Bradley
Basil Ruysdael ... Prof. A.R. Kraal
Sidney Poitier ... Gregory W. Miller
Vic Morrow ... Artie West
Dan Terranova ... Belazi
Rafael Campos ... Pete V. Morales
Paul Mazursky ... Emmanuel Stoker
Horace McMahon ... Detective
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Storyline

War veteran Rick Dadier is one of three new teachers hired at North Manual High School, an inner city boys school. This is his first teaching assignment, which he needs to support himself and his insecure pregnant wife, Anne. Despite Principle Warnecke's assertions to the contrary, Dadier quickly learns that the rumors of student discipline problems at the school are indeed true. The established teachers at the school try to counsel the newcomers, all inexperienced in such situations, as how best to handle the rowdy students. Regardless, Dadier tries to exert discipline in his class, which provokes a violent response. Dadier believes the student leaders against him are Artie West, but more specifically Gregory Miller, who he thinks uses the fact of being black as a means of racial provocation. Dadier has to decide either to leave and teach at a "real" school, or stay and figure out how to get through to his students. If he decides to stay, he has to figure out who the real disruptive ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Startling Picture In Years! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 March 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Blackboard Jungle See more »

Filming Locations:

El Segundo, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,168,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Sidney Poitier showed up to start work on this film, he was called to the front office by a studio lawyer. Told they were concerned about his activism and association with blacklisted actors Paul Robeson and Canada Lee, he was asked to sign a loyalty oath to the American government. Poitier thought that was ridiculous and director Richard Brooks agreed, so they simply started shooting. He never heard from the studio lawyer again. See more »

Goofs

As Professor Kraal escorts Dadier through the suburban school, the sound of students singing the national anthem is heard in the distance, louder in each succeeding scene, missing no verses. Kraal and Dadier are eventually shown ending their tour in the school auditorium, where they've joined the students in singing the anthem's final verse. However, in order for the two men to be present during the assembly while the students were still singing the anthem, the students would have to have sung the anthem over and over again for the entire time it took for the two men to tour the school. See more »

Quotes

Anne Dadier: I was like one of the bad kids in your class. Somebody told me a lie and I believed it. One's as bad as the other.
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Crazy Credits

"We, in the United States, are fortunate to have a school system that is a tribute to our communities and to our faith in American youth. Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency -- its causes -- and its effects. We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our schools. The scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional. However, we believe that public awareness is a first step toward a remedy for any problem. Is is in this spirit and with this faith that BLACKBOARD JUNGLE was produced." See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was originally rejected in the UK for containing "unbridled, revolting hooliganism" and having a "damaging and harmful effect (on teenagers)". Following protests from the distributor, it was viewed again but there was an even split between examiners in favor of banning it again or cutting it for an X (16) certificate. After further meetings where the distributor claimed it had a sincere moral purpose, a cuts list was drawn up which removed around five minutes of footage. This included the following:
  • The foreword which absolved the US of blame regarding its realistic depiction - this was added specifically for foreign releases following the huge controversy it caused back home. It reads: "We, in the United States, are fortunate to have a school system that is a tribute to our communities and to our faith in American youth. Today we are concerned with juvenile delinquency -- its causes -- and its effects. We are especially concerned when this delinquency boils over into our schools. The scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional. However, we believe that public awareness is a first step toward a remedy for any problem. It is in this spirit and with this faith that BLACKBOARD JUNGLE was produced."
  • Male pupils leering at women.
  • A boy assaulting a female teacher.
  • Dadier being attacked.
  • Dadier being threatened by a knife-wielding pupil.
  • The planning and execution of a van robbery.
  • Dadier fighting back against a pupil.
Despite the heated conflict involving the BBFC and mixed reviews, the release of this X-rated cut version passed without incident and very little public feedback. No councils who viewed it chose to ban it. In 1996, it was submitted for a video release and passed uncut with a 12 certificate. See more »

Connections

Referenced in To Sir, with Love II (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock Around the Clock
Written by James E. Myers (uncredited) and Max Freedman (uncredited)
Played by Bill Haley and the Comets (as Bill Haley and His Comets)
Courtesy of Decca Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Rock around the clock
20 July 2006 | by jotix100See all my reviews

"Blackboard Jungle" marked a turn around in films coming from Hollywood. This was a film that dealt with a reality that movies had not dared to touch before in the way they always wanted to sugar coat every picture about teens in high school. The guys one sees here are the real thing, as though taken from any high school in the inner city of that time.

The amazing thing this high school, at the center of the action, is not typical of any other schools in that one males attended and no females are to be seen around them. By making an old male high school, Richard Brooks updated Evan Hunter's novel to show the violent nature of most of those young men that are clearly from under privileged homes, perhaps, boys whose fathers had bolted and left their women to bring up the sons they didn't want to have anything with.

The film is important in that it marked the arrival of a strong actor that would dominate the movies like no other one, Sidney Poitier. With his handsome looks, and his great screen presence, Mr. Poitier was instrumental in breaking into the main stream movies in ways others tried, but didn't make a dent. Perhaps it was in the cards that Hollywood began dealing with a reality they tried to ignore integrating their stories with Blacks that had taken a back seat to other, not so talented performers.

The film works because of the strong performances by Glenn Ford, Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier. Also, the theme song of the film, "Rock Around the Clock" went to become an anthem for viewers that filled the theaters for the thrill of hearing it play as the film started, putting them in the right frame of mind to accept what they were going to see.

Richard Brooks is the one responsible for the adaptation and the inspired direction for the movie that still resonates because of its raw energy.


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