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The Elgin Hour - Crime in the Streets

episode 1.12

USA 1955
produced by
Herbert Brodkin for ABC
directed by Sidney Lumet
starring John Cassavetes, Ivan Cury, Mark Rydell, Robert Preston, Glenda Farrell, Will Kuluva, Van Dyke Parks, David Winters, Jerry Wynne
written by Reginald Rose, music by Ralph Norman

TV-series
The Elgin Hour

review by
Mike Haberfelner


Frankie (John Cassavetes) is the leader of the Hornets, a teen gang who tries to be the toughest in their poor neighbourhood, but really are just your typical group of young troublemakers who try to make up in toughness for the fact that their outlook into the future is rather grim. Thing is, while his gangmates are basically show-offs who show strength as a group to hide their own insecurities, everything goes deeper with Frankie, who has an actual violent streak to him, so much so that he eventually plans the murder of someone who got one of his friends arrested (for legitimate reasons). But when he tells his gangmates about it, they all turn away, all but Angelo (Ivan Cury), who sees Frankie as a father figure, and simpleton Lou (Mark Rydell). With these two, he plans the murder rather meticulously (or at least thinks he does), but without knowing that his own little brother (Van Dyke Parks) is listening in - who just doesn't want anything bad to happen to Frankie, so he gets social worker Ben (Robert Preston) on Frankie's case. But it's a race against the clock for Ben to talk sense into Frankie, especially when Frankie's not really listening ...

 

Considering this is from the early days of TV, this episode of The Elgin Hour has of course some shortcomings that come with it, like limited and not wholly convincing sets, a slightly stagey approach, sometimes preachy dialogue and way too blatant product placement (for Elgin watches) - but thanks to a very slick directorial effort and a top notch cast, Crime in the Streets doesn't really suffer from it. It's not that there isn't room for improvement, but still the whole thing holds up pretty well compared to other contemporary shows, and it really makes for an excellent stroll down memory lane.

 

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A Killer Conversation

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directed by
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written by
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starring
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