Violent Playground DVD
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Directed by Basil Dearden
Produced in 1958
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
This Liverpool-set 1950s drama sees the ever-reliable Baker play a Juvenile Liaison Office who falls for the sister of a couple of truants. It's a fascinating timepiece, says Julian Upton.
When CID man Stanley Baker is reassigned as a Juvenile Liaison Officer (a job so novel in the 1950s it has to be explained to everyone he meets) he is not best pleased: kids aren’t his bag at all. But as he pounds the city’s waste grounds and teeming sink estates, trying to steer tykes and urchins away from trouble, he sees the value of the long-term effects of his role. In the process, he also falls for the older sister (Anne Heywood) of a couple of tiny truants.
Highly characteristic of its director at the time, this slice of social realism is distinguished by the square-jawed and ever-reliable Baker, extensive location shooting on the streets of a now barely recognisable Liverpool, and a gripping climax in which sociopathic teenager David McCallum gets hold of a Tommy gun and lays siege to a primary school. Look out also for 14-year-old Fred Fowell – now better known as Freddie Starr – bringing some authentic Scouse cheek to supporting role as one of McCallum’s adolescent henchmen.
Julian Upton on 8th December 2011
Author of 150 reviews
A 1950s British drama, Violent Playground sees Stanley Baker's detective reassigned to the position of Juvenile Liaison Officer for the city of Liverpool, where he sets about tackling youth crime.
Truman (Stanley Baker) is initially unhappy with his new position, feeling that it will thwart his attempts to catch the arsonist doing a great deal of damage to the city. However, things improve when he meets and falls in love with Cathie Murphy (Anne Heywood) through the misbehaviour of her younger siblings. However, the misdemeanours of the older brother of the Murphy family, Johnnie (David McCallum), are of a more serious nature and Truman will have to use all of his personal and policing skills to try and keep the family together.
Length: 107 mins
Cat No: STW0027
Format: DVD B&W