It's another cornball feature brought to us by Something Weird Video: a dopey troubled-youth flick from 1958 with street racing! fist fights! moody young men who talk endlessly about their "death wish"! And maybe I've lost all critical acumen after staring at these chiseled fifties blondes marching across my TV, but I kind of liked it.Supposedly a "shocking" expose of the Hollywood scene, LL&V centers on a brooding young man, an up-and-coming actor who's driven to existential despair by...well, no particular reason that I could see, to be honest. He's the envy of his friends, struggling thespians all, but something deep inside makes him while away his free time in the library, reading books on psychology. He's just vaguely disturbed in the best '50s youth tradition.
There's a (totally gratuitious) street racing scene and a couple of fistfights, but most of this talky flick attempts rather sincerely to get inside the head of our nice yet fucked-up hero. This means a lot of overlong conversations--and a rather disappointing lack of JD-business. No reefer madness here--just a lot of free-floating angst. In the last analysis it's fairly unconvincing, and the abrupt ending feels like a cop-out, but the movie has its charms. Maybe I'm just a sucker for tough-guy dialogue like "One of these days, somebody's gonna stick a pin in you and let all that hot air out."
This is one of the better discs I've seen from SWV. It includes a hilarious men-in-prison bonus feature, Jacktown (1962; 58 minutes), an all-too-sober warning to aimless young men who listen to that rock 'n' roll and hang out at bowling alleys. In addition, there's a wonderful old B&W educational short, Crisis in Morality (26 minutes), which should delight collectors of right-wing paranoia.If you're in the right mood--high as a balloon, maybe--this is fun stuff.