Raw meat for fans of John Cassavetes, the actor, in this way-above-average Juvenile Delinquent genre picture. Solid direction by Don Siegel (Dirty Harry, Charley Varrick, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and a career-building performance by Cassavetes in his first lead role in a feature film. If that weren't enough, tremendous supporting performances by Mark Rydell and the irresistibly angelic/tragic Sal Mineo.
Despite the contrivances expected of the Hollywood juvenile delinquency flick - particularly in the idealized social worker - this male melo packs a strong emotional punch and gets in a few good references to the characters' broader social situations. Affecting performances too from Sal Mineo (a strong scene with his father) and John Cassavetes (who gives psychological weight to a generic backstory). A solid drama.
Crime in the Streets starts off with a hell of a title sequence then challenges you not to turn it off through the sheer unlikeability of John Cassavettes' character. More of a juvenile delinquency movie than a film noir, I never really found a reason to like it.
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.