“If you flake around with the weed, you’ll end up using the harder stuff!”
Tough Tony Baker (Russ Tamblyn) arrives at a new high school and immediately tries to edge in on the drug scene — much to the consternation of his concerned teacher (Jan Sterling).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Drug Dealers
- High School
- Jack Arnold Films
- Jan Sterling Films
- Mamie Van Doren Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Russ Tamblyn Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “fast-moving, tongue-in-cheek” film about the “fifties turbulent-youth scene” — which contains “intentionally sleazy elements” — is “great fun because of the wild dancing and action, three blonde actresses…, and hip teen lingo that will make you feel nostalgic: ‘flipout’, ‘swingingest’, ‘nowhere’, ‘square’ ‘(fill in any word)sville'”, etc. He points out that producer Albert “Zugsmith and talented director Jack Arnold include much intentional campy humor, but the drug angle is treated cautiously” — and he adds that while it’s “a much better film than 1936’s Reefer Madness“, there “are a surprising number of similarities between the two” given that both claim “problem children don’t necessarily come from problem homes,” “the major dealers set up business with pushers and are too smart to be users themselves,” and “where there is loud music there are usually drugs” (!). Peary argues that Mamie Van Doren as Tamblyn’s “nymphomaniac” aunt is particularly noteworthy, and that he believes “it’s worth the price of admission to watch her walking around in semi-obscene outfits…, biting into [Tamblyn’s] apple with thoughts of Eden in her naughty head.” Okay.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Mamie Van Doren as Tamblyn’s aunt
- Jan Sterling as Tamblyn’s concerned teacher
- Tamblyn secretly shooting up into a ball rather than his arm when “testing out” some drugs
Yes, as a cult movie. Discussed at length in Peary’s Cult Movies 2 (1983).