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Critics reviews
High School Confidential!
Jack Arnold United States, 1958
From the opening strains of its theme song, growled to raucous perfection by the Killer himself, Confidential promises to walk the fine line between hepcat authenticity and hysterical teensploitation. Like any high school film worth its carpet letter, the shoestring plot is economically established within the first ten minutes, setting the stage for inevitable rumbles, tough-love life lessons, and necking sessions at Makeout Point.
November 10, 2017
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The screenplay of High School Confidential! is preposterous, jammed with faux jive talk and standard-issue situations (dissing the principal, cutting up at the pool party, getting an anti-drug pep talk from booze-drinking parents). Yet, the movie works surprisingly well, thanks to director Arnold, who punctuates the routine plot with all sorts of inventive visual details. Some are small grace notes, like the Pieter Breugel print strategically placed in a cafeteria scene.
December 04, 2014
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With its well-staged drag race (a wheel detaches to spin toward the viewer as a car flips over) and climactic slugfest, not to mention the twerking camera placement contrived for Mr. Lewis’s second number, “High School Confidential!” burnishes Arnold’s reputation as one of the great drive-in directors of the 1950s. The auteur, however, is [producer Albert] Zugsmith…
August 28, 2014
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The ending announces the “authentic disclosure of conditions,” the concluding punchline to this coruscating gagfest, as astringent a vision of the late-‘50s as Frank Tashlin’s are opulent. Tashlin immerses himself into pop inanities, Jack Arnold surveys them from a caustic distance, scientifically — rock ‘n’ roll, teen slang, drag races are studied like the intergalactic visitor of It Came From Outer Space, though here They Come From Within.
November 22, 2008
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A classic teenpic from 1958, produced by the legendary schlockmeister Albert Zugsmith—whose delicate touch is best represented by the exclamation point appended to the title.
January 01, 1980
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