BLACKBOARD JUNGLE – starring Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier (1955)

07 Nov


Richard Brooks
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Written by Richard Brooks
Based on Blackboard Jungle
by Evan Hunter
Starring Glenn Ford
Anne Francis
Louis Calhern
Sidney Poitier
Music by Max C. Freedman, Jimmy DeKnight (song “Rock Around the Clock”) (uncredited), Willis Holman (song “Blackboard Jungle”), Jenny Lou Carson (song “Let Me Go, Lover!” (uncredited)
Cinematography Russell Harlan, ASC
Edited by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
March 19, 1955
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,168,000[1]
Box office $8,144,000[1]

Blackboard Jungle is a 1955 social commentary film about teachers in an inter-racial inner-city school, based on the novel of the same name by Evan Hunter and adapted for the screen and directed by Richard Brooks. It is remembered for its innovative use of rock and roll in its soundtrack and for the unusual breakout role of a black Bahamian-American cast member, future Oscar winner and star Sidney Poitier as a rebellious, yet musically talented student.

Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) is a new teacher at North Manual Trades High School, an inner-city school of diverse ethnic backgrounds where many of the pupils, led by student Gregory Miller (Sidney Poitier), frequently engage in anti-social behavior. Dadier makes various attempts to engage the students’ interest in education, challenging both the school staff and the pupils. He is subjected to violence as well as duplicitous schemes; he first suspects Miller, but later realizes that Artie West (Vic Morrow) is the perpetrator, and challenges him in a tense classroom showdown involving a switchblade knife.

Glenn Ford as Richard Dadier
Sidney Poitier as Gregory Miller
Vic Morrow as Artie West
Anne Francis as Anne Dadier
Louis Calhern as Jim Murdock
Margaret Hayes as Lois Hammond
John Hoyt as Mr. Warneke
Richard Kiley as Joshua Edwards
Emile Meyer as Mr. Halloran
Warner Anderson as Dr. Bradley
Basil Ruysdael as Professor A. R. Kraal
Dan Terranova as Belazi
Rafael Campos as Pete V. Morales
Paul Mazursky as Emmanuel Stoker
Horace McMahon as Detective
Jameel Farah as Santini
Cast notes

This was the debut film for Campos, Morrow, and Farah, and one of Poitier’s earliest. Farah later changed his name to Jamie Farr, well known for playing Corporal Klinger in the M*A*S*H TV series.




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