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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

A still from The Young Stranger (1957)

The Young Stranger

1957 | United States | 84 min
  • Deal a Blow
  • Is This Our Son?
  • Strike a Blow
  • Watched on Fri Mar 5, 2021 via Amazon
    C: 3 stars (out of 5)

    John Frankenheimer’s feature debut. James MacArthur plays the smart-aleck son of a big-shot Hollywood producer. After a run in with a theater-manager lands him in the local police station, he’s frustrated his father won’t believe his side of the story.

    Measured performances and an even-handed script elevate this entry above typical teen-outrage fare. MacArthur longs to be treated like an adult, but proves reluctant to act like one. His petulant behavior alienates would-be allies. There’s the obligatory out-of-touch dad angle, but it’s not played as a sappy scapegoat.

    I liked this more than I expected, though the gay subtext between MacArthur and his friend—highlighted by a shirtless wrestling match—felt under-explored. Then again, perhaps that’s all screenwriter Robert Dozier could afford in 1957.

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