Monday, August 27, 2012

"Blackboard Jungle" 1955

Summer is coming to an end which for teachers like me means getting back into the swing of school. What better than to watch on of the husband's favorite oldies, "Blackboard Jungle" starring Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier among others.

Ford plays Richard, a war veteran who gets hired working at a "juvenile delinquent" school teaching English. Right off the bat he learns that the other teachers fear for their lives, the students are out of control, the principal is a hard ass, and that the only woman teacher is hot.

First day in and his class is already causing trouble. The call him "Daddy-o", smoke in the bathrooms, and throw a baseball at his head. A definite 180 from my teaching experiences...

After the first week Richard is exhausted. His wife Anne tells him to quit. She is pregges and in a very fragile condition after having miscarried in the past. Funny thing is, they go out to dinner and she drinks down glasses of champagne!

Richard, being the good teacher that he is, doesn't like how the rest of the teaching staff has given up on these boys. He wants to try to make a difference and keeps teaching. Things get worse before they get better. The student destroy a fellow teacher's classroom, mysterious notes are sent to Anne saying Richard is getting frisky with the female staff, and the boys beat Richard up in an alley before driving off. 

Richard finally sees a light at the end of the tunnel when he  gets though to the students during an in class discussion. Some of the boys start trusting him and are motivated to learn. Richard is feeling really good about himself.

While the classroom is changing for the better, a few students are still trying to cause mischief and put Richard in a life or death situation. The class is forced to choose which side to be on.

This picture was nominated for 4 Oscars (Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Screenplay) but didn't win. The opening credits also feature music by  Bill Haley and the Comets which launched rock and roll after this film was released.

Listen in!

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