Siegel’s intelligent & claustrophobic depiction of amoral gang behaviour was completed just after his seminal Invasion of the Body Snatchers & holds some of the same cool hysteria. John Cassavetes provides a brilliant portrayal of an alienated youth determined to commit murder. Made in the wake of Blackboard Jungle, & based on Reginald Rose’s searing teleplay, it features Mark Rydell & Sal Mineo as fellow gang members, as well as a dynamically expressive score by Franz Waxman. —Melbourne Cinematheque
Donald Siegel (October 26, 1912 – April 20, 1991) was an influential American film director and producer. His name appeared in the credits of his films as both Don Siegel and Donald Siegel.
Born in Chicago, he graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge in England, and found work in Warner Bros. film library, rising to become head of the Montage Department, where he directed thousands of montages, including the opening montage for Casablanca. In 1945 two shorts he directed, Hitler Lives? and A Star in the Night, won Academy Awards, which launched his career as a feature director.
He directed whatever material came his way, often transcending the limitations of budget and script to produce interesting and adept works. He directed two episodes of The Twilight Zone, “The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross” and “Uncle Simon”. He worked with Elvis Presley and Dolores del Río in Flaming Star (1960), and with Steve McQueen in Hell… read more
Despite Don Siegel's solid direction, the moody black and white cinematography, and an intense early performance by John Cassavetes, it all adds up to a rather shrill juvenile delinquent melodrama due to a script full of ham-fisted messages and characters that are thin caricatures. Even Franz Waxman's boisterous jazz score is overbearing. A surprisingly annoying disappointment.