Film Review of Dangerous Years: Two Abandoned Children, Two Crimes, and Two Destinies
An abandoned boy ages into an angry adult who feels short-sheeted by life. He looks to teen-aged minors for companionship in carousing and lawlessness. What will he do if a past truth can free him from harsh punishment in the film “Dangerous Years”?
Dangerous Years is a drama film by writer Arnold Belgard; producer Sol M. Wurtzel; and director Arthur Pierson. Responsibility for cinematography, editing, and music is by Benjamin H. Kline, William F. Claxton, and Raoul Kraushaar (acknowledged as Ralph Stanley). The setting is Middleton although the filming location is 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles.
The film lasts 62 minutes. It was distributed by 20th Century Fox. According to Turner Classic Movies, it was premiered on January 16, 1948 in Los Angeles and released in February. According to Internet Movie Database, it was released on December 7, 1947.
The film begins with Middleton families concerned over the recently-opened Gopher Hole. History teacher and boys’ club organizer Jeff Carter (Donald Curtis) decides to visit the jukebox roadhouse. He worries about bad influences from newcomer Danny Jones (Billy Halop).
Jeff catches Danny planning a robbery with Gene Spooner (Dickie Moore) and Willy Miller (Scotty Beckett). Danny fatally shoots Jeff. A warehouse employee witnesses the shooting and tells police that Willy’s father owns the getaway truck.
The three go to the Gopher Hole, where Evie (Marilyn Monroe) waitresses. They pretend to spend the night pool-playing. But the police uncover alcohol and arrest them.
Two of the three are minors. Danny alone can be tried as an adult. District attorney Edgar Burns (Richard Gaines) decides that life imprisonment for premeditated murder is what Danny deserves.
Boys’ club leader Leo Emerson (Darryl Hickman) is among the prosecution’s witnesses. He opines that Danny enticed school basketball players to the Gopher Hole. He says that Danny reacted violently when Jeff complained about corruption of minors.
Willy also appears in court. He describes his father August (Harry Shannon) as an abusive alcoholic who considers whippings just punishment. The Judge fingers August as the stressor forcing Willy into gang lawlessness.
Edgar’s daughter Connie (Anabel Shaw) attempts to help Danny. She calls Danny an acquaintance from orphanage life a decade earlier. Edgar claims ignorance of his ex-wife’s pregnancy during their marriage’s annulment. He insists upon having acknowledged Connie once the orphanage matron, Miss Templeton (Nana Bryant), contacted him as Connie’s father. He remains undeterred in punishing Danny for life.
The film ends with Miss Templeton’s knowledge that Danny, not Connie, is Edgar’s child. She excuses her silence by saying that Edgar’s status allowed Connie medical help. She keeps quiet as Danny goes to prison.
Dangerous Years is memorable in film history for Marilyn Monroe’s (1926-1962) fleeting appearance as a friendly, pretty young waitress.
Copyright: Thursday, August 16, 2012 by Derdriu