"I've been beaten up. But I'm not beaten...I'm not beaten. And I'm not quitting."
- Dadier (Glenn Ford) to his wife, Anne (Anne Francis)
USA Today - 12/08/1989
"...Still consistently fun, and even sporadically powerful..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Richard Dadier is a man eager to make a difference. Or, some might say, he's a believer in lost causes. Dadier is a new teacher at inner-city North Manual High. Racial and sexual tensions. Violence. Gangs. Apathy. What Blackboard Jungle tackled 50 years ago are still hot-button issues in schools. Glenn Ford as Dadier clings to his ideals and pays a price vying with teen misfits led by Vic Morrow and, in a star-making performance, a too-cool-to-cope Sidney Poitier. Directed by Richard Brooks, Blackboard Jungle is brisk, urgent and powerful. And it starts with the influential "Rock Around The Clock", said to be the first use of rock 'n' roll in a mainstream movie. Think it'll catch on?
This provocative portrait of juvenile delinqency in a 1950s inner-city high school was based on the best-selling novel by Evan Hunter. Groundbreaking in its gritty realism and its use of rock & roll on the soundtrack, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE paved the way for such realistic and tough adolescent pictures as WEST SIDE STORY and REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. The atmospheric tale of a teacher's harrowing experience in the New York City school system stars Glenn Ford as Richard Dadier, an idealistic teacher assigned to a new school located in one of the poorest and ethnically diverse city neighborhoods. Dadier's idealism fades as he struggles to make a difference to his indifferent students. Darkly ominous cinematography highlights the street world of the desperate delinquents as they carouse, smoke, and steal after school. The film features smoldering performances by a young Sidney Poitier and Vic Morrow as tough-as-nails rebels fighting over the role of leader in Dadier's classroom. This innovative and ultimately uplifting portrayal of a generation at odds with the world served as a seminal portrait of the darker side of the 1950s; however, it was laced with controversy as well, as it was withdrawn from the 1955 Venice Film Festival for showing an unflattering view of American high school life.
Description by Warner Home Video:
Glen Ford is riveting as a dedicated teacher whose idealism fades under the tensions that rip his classroom apart. Anne Francis and Sidney Poitier co-star.
This controversial film, based on Evan Hunter's best-selling novel, is widely recognized as a groundbreaking and innovative portrait of juvenile delinquency in the 1950s. Glenn Ford stars as Richard Dadier, an idealistic new teacher struggling to make a difference at a rough prisonlike school in New York city. His new school--located in one of the poorest ethnic districts--is a magnet for delinquent students, hoodlums, and ruffians. Sidney Poitier and Vic Morrow costar as young rebels in Dadier's classroom who are angry, violent, and itching to defy authority. Rock & roll came to the big screen in a major way as Bill Haley and the Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" bopped over the opening credits.