Blackboard Jungle

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Blackboard Jungle

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Written by: Richard Brooks, based on the novel by Evan Hunter
Starring: Glenn Ford,
Sidney Poitier,
Vic Morrow
Directed by: Richard Brooks
Photography by: Russell Harlan
Art direction by: Cedric Gibbons and Randall Duell
Edited by: Ferris Webster
Music by: Bill Haley and the Comets
Distributed by: MGM
Release Date: 1955
Awards: 1955 Academy Award Nominations,
Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Cimematography; Best Art Direction; and Film Editing

Blackboard Jungle (also known as The Blackboard Jungle) is a 1955 motion picture of social commentary that catalysed a genre of teacher dramas.

Cultural impact

The film is very much in a, now established, genre in which an idealistic teacher is confronted with a class of cynical teenagers, disengaged by conventional schooling. As so often in later films, issues of race and class lie at the heart of the dynamics. Subsequent films that exploited the theme include: To Sir, with Love (starring Poitier as a black teacher in a white school in 1967), Stand and Deliver (1988), Lean on Me and Dead Poets Society (both in 1989), and Dangerous Minds (1995).

The film has also credited with sparking the Rock and Roll revolution by featuring Bill Haley and the Comets's Rock Around the Clock, initially a B-side, over the film's opening credits, establishing that song as an instant classic.

The music led to a huge teenage audience for the film; their exuberance sometimes overflowed into violence and vandalism at screenings. In this sense, it has been seen as marking the start of a period of visible teenage rebellion in the late 20th century.

In March 2005, the 50th anniversary of the release of the film, and the subsequent rise in popularity of Rock and Roll, was marked by a series of "Rock is Fifty" celebrations in New York City and Los Angeles, involving the surviving members of the original Bill Haley and His Comets. The film itself made its North American DVD debut on May 10, 2005.

Plot summary

Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) is a teacher at an inner-city school where the anti-social behaviour of the pupils, led by Artie West (Vic Morrow) holds sway. Dadier challenges both staff and pupils but the conflict results in anonymous threats against his family. Dadier suspects the black pupil Gregory Miller (Poitier), and issues of prejudice are explored as the plot is de violence


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