Crime in the Streets (1956)

88 or 91 mins | Drama | 10 June 1956

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HISTORY

The film opens with a scene of two gangs meeting in the warehouse district. Title credits begin when the fight starts. The credits continue until the "Dukes" gang runs away. Mark Rydell and Will Kuluva reprised their television roles for the feature film, as did John Cassavetes. Although the screen credits read "And introducing John Cassavetes," he had appeared briefly in the 1953 Twentieth Century-Fox film Taxi (see below). A 7 Nov 1944 HR news item reported that Syd Saylor was cast in Crime in the Streets , but he does not appear in the final film. In addition, an Apr 1955 HR pre-production news item reported that producer Vincent Fennelly was negotiating with Sidney Lumet, who directed the television episode, to direct the motion picture, and noted that the film would be shot on location in New York City. However, Crime in the Streets was filmed at Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
       According to correspondence in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in Sep 1955 Geoffrey Shurlock of the PCA declared the script was unacceptable. In his letter Shurlock stated that "it contains extremes of violence and brutality which would be at complete variance with the Code" and goes "far beyond the dictates of prudence and discretion." On 13 Sep 1955, Fennelly responded in writing following several discussions with Shurlock. Fennelly agreed to various changes, including the following: "The violence and length of the gang rumble will be lessened. I will be allowed to show two gangs as they are ... More Less

The film opens with a scene of two gangs meeting in the warehouse district. Title credits begin when the fight starts. The credits continue until the "Dukes" gang runs away. Mark Rydell and Will Kuluva reprised their television roles for the feature film, as did John Cassavetes. Although the screen credits read "And introducing John Cassavetes," he had appeared briefly in the 1953 Twentieth Century-Fox film Taxi (see below). A 7 Nov 1944 HR news item reported that Syd Saylor was cast in Crime in the Streets , but he does not appear in the final film. In addition, an Apr 1955 HR pre-production news item reported that producer Vincent Fennelly was negotiating with Sidney Lumet, who directed the television episode, to direct the motion picture, and noted that the film would be shot on location in New York City. However, Crime in the Streets was filmed at Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
       According to correspondence in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in Sep 1955 Geoffrey Shurlock of the PCA declared the script was unacceptable. In his letter Shurlock stated that "it contains extremes of violence and brutality which would be at complete variance with the Code" and goes "far beyond the dictates of prudence and discretion." On 13 Sep 1955, Fennelly responded in writing following several discussions with Shurlock. Fennelly agreed to various changes, including the following: "The violence and length of the gang rumble will be lessened. I will be allowed to show two gangs as they are depicted in the script, come towards each other carrying weapons such as sticks, bats, belts, chains, etc., eliminating broken bottles and weapons of this nature....As the fight gets underway, I will let the sound effects take over a dark screen and come in with the main titles."
       In addition, Fennelly added that "[t]he murder of Mr. McAllister as planned will remain. The sequence where Frankie Dane, Lou and Baby meet at ten o'clock at night, will be altered to the effect that Mr. McAllister will not be murdered, but will be humiliated by forcing him to lick dirt, scrambling, etc. Lou objects to not following the plan of murder." In his response to Fennelly on 15 Sep 1955, Shurlock approved the changes, and also requested that "some dialogue be inserted in the ten o'clock sequence, to debunk the idea that the boys who turn their back on the suggestion of murder are chicken. It would be all right for Frankie to make this charge, but it was agreed that somebody, perhaps Baby, will put the matter in its right light." The final film was approved by the PCA on 14 Mar 1956. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Apr 1956.
---
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1955.
---
Daily Variety
9 Apr 56
p. 3.
Daily Variety
20 Jun 1956.
---
Film Daily
18 Apr 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 1955
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 56
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 1956
pp. 5-6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1956
p. 9.
Los Angeles Examiner
19 Jul 1956
Section II, p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jul 1956.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Apr 56
p. 857.
New York Times
24 May 56
p. 27.
The Exhibitor
2 May 1956
p. 4149.
Variety
11 Apr 56
p. 6.
Variety
19 Sep 1956.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Lindbrook Production
A Lindbrook Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Lighting tech
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Const supv
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec eng
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Set cont
Dial coach
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the teleplay "Crime in the Streets" by Reginald Rose on The Elgin TV Hour (ABC, 8 Mar 1955).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
10 June 1956
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 23 May 1956
Production Date:
5 November--late November 1955 at Samuel Goldwyn Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 April 1956
Copyright Number:
LP6362
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
88 or 91
Length(in feet):
8,175
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17872
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The New York City Hornets and Dukes youth gangs confront each other in the portside warehouse district for a rumble. The Dukes flee after a brutal beating, and the Hornets take the one remaining Dukes member to an alley in their own neighborhood. The boy is beaten further until Lenny Daniels, one of the gang members, threatens him with a zip gun before letting him go. Later, the Hornets’ leader, Frankie Dane, vows revenge against his neighbor, McAllister, who witnessed the fight and informed a policeman, resulting in Lenny’s arrest. Already hardened at eighteen years old, Frankie rejects his mother’s affection and social worker Ben Wagner’s earnest attempts to reform him. The next morning, Frankie confronts McAllister on the stoop and when McAllister insults him, Frankie threateningly grabs McAllister by the collar. McAllister slaps him and walks away, leaving Frankie infuriated. That night on the fire escape outside his apartment, Frankie informs his most trusted comrades, Lou Macklin and Angelo “Baby” Gioia, a fifteen-year-old boy whose father runs the local soda fountain, that he plans to murder McAllister. Although Baby hesitates to expand their criminal activities to murder, he goes along with the plan. Frankie’s ten-year-old brother Richie, who innocently reveres Frankie, opens the window and overhears their plot to commit murder. After the boys leave, Mrs. Dane comes home from her job as a waitress, and complains because Frankie refuses to work to help support the family. However, Frankie resents his mother, who was abandoned by Frankie's abusive father. Before leaving the apartment, Frankie threatens to hit Richie if he ever again eavesdrops. When Frankie ... +


The New York City Hornets and Dukes youth gangs confront each other in the portside warehouse district for a rumble. The Dukes flee after a brutal beating, and the Hornets take the one remaining Dukes member to an alley in their own neighborhood. The boy is beaten further until Lenny Daniels, one of the gang members, threatens him with a zip gun before letting him go. Later, the Hornets’ leader, Frankie Dane, vows revenge against his neighbor, McAllister, who witnessed the fight and informed a policeman, resulting in Lenny’s arrest. Already hardened at eighteen years old, Frankie rejects his mother’s affection and social worker Ben Wagner’s earnest attempts to reform him. The next morning, Frankie confronts McAllister on the stoop and when McAllister insults him, Frankie threateningly grabs McAllister by the collar. McAllister slaps him and walks away, leaving Frankie infuriated. That night on the fire escape outside his apartment, Frankie informs his most trusted comrades, Lou Macklin and Angelo “Baby” Gioia, a fifteen-year-old boy whose father runs the local soda fountain, that he plans to murder McAllister. Although Baby hesitates to expand their criminal activities to murder, he goes along with the plan. Frankie’s ten-year-old brother Richie, who innocently reveres Frankie, opens the window and overhears their plot to commit murder. After the boys leave, Mrs. Dane comes home from her job as a waitress, and complains because Frankie refuses to work to help support the family. However, Frankie resents his mother, who was abandoned by Frankie's abusive father. Before leaving the apartment, Frankie threatens to hit Richie if he ever again eavesdrops. When Frankie announces his murder plans to the rest of the gang later that night, they refuse to go along with him, and only Lou and Baby remain loyal. Frankie is further disturbed by the news that Lenny has been sentenced to one year in prison, and when he tries to talk to Baby in the soda shop, Mr. Gioia throws him out. Gioia then slaps his son and warns him to stay away from Frankie. Ben, who saw the exchange, admonishes Gioia for striking Baby, and suggests that the angry teenagers require patience and understanding rather than further violence. Later, Baby’s sister Maria, who has a crush on Frankie, apologizes to him for her father’s behavior, but Frankie is uninterested in her. Despite Lou’s protests, Frankie decides to kill McAllister the following night in the alley between his apartment building and the soda shop. The next night, Ben encounters Richie, who anxiously reveals Frankie’s intent to commit murder. Ben visits Frankie in the apartment for a heart-to-heart talk, but fails to convince Frankie that his life could improve. Before Baby leaves the soda shop that night, his father beseeches him to drop out of the gang and have compassion for his mother, who is sick with worry. However, Baby resists his father’s entreaties and meets with Frankie and Lou in the alley. They finalize their plan to sneak out of their homes and meet there at 1:30 in the morning, when McAllister will pass by on his way home from bowling. They are about to leave when a drunk comes down the street, and Frankie insists on a trial run. As part of the plan, Baby lies on the edge of the alley and pretends to sob to attract attention. When the drunk comes over to investigate, Lou grabs and holds the man, while Frankie draws his switchblade. Frankie lets the terrified man go without harm, but Richie witnesses the scene. Frankie grabs his brother and threatens to cut him if Richie tells anyone. Disturbed by the violence, Baby tells Frankie he is having second thoughts. However, Frankie assures him that rather than kill McAllister, he now plans only to wound him. Later, Mrs. Dane passes Ben’s window at the settlement house and he tries to talk to her about Frankie, but she is too exhausted. Upon returning home, Mrs. Dane finds Richie sobbing and terrified of Frankie. When she confronts Frankie, he shouts at her, and she responds by slapping him. Frankie, who hates to be touched, retreats to the fire escape, which he considers to be his sole refuge. Soon after, Ben climbs up to talk to him one more time. Ben explains that he understands Frankie’s anger comes from years of abuse and neglect, but tells the young man he is not alone, and urges him to use his energy for good, rather than cultivating hatred. Frankie refuses to acknowledge Ben, and wordlessly goes back inside. At 1:30 in the morning, Frankie, Lou and Baby meet at the alley and capture McAllister as planned. However, Richie appears unexpectedly and shoves his knife-wielding brother aside. Enraged, Frankie holds the knife to Richie’s throat, and insists that everyone leave, including McAllister. Frankie is left alone with Richie, who tells his brother he loves him. Ben arrives in time to see Frankie withdraw the knife and embrace his brother. After Frankie sends Richie home, Ben accompanies Frankie out of the alley. Down the street, they see McAllister talking to a policeman. Frankie almost flees, but instead accepts Ben’s arm around his shoulders. Together, they walk toward the policeman. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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