Violent Playground View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Basil Dearden

Produced: 1958

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Studio: Spirit

Length: 107 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 16 January 2012

Cat No: STW0027

Extras:
Languages(s): English
Interactive Menu

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Violent Playground

Cast: Peter Cushing , David McCallum , Stanley Baker , John Slater , Clifford Evans , Anne Heywood

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1950s drama in which a detective is reassigned to the position of Juvenile Liaison Officer for the city of Liverpool and sets about... Read More

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1950s drama in which a detective is reassigned to the position of Juvenile Liaison Officer for the city of Liverpool and 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. 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.

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.

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