High School Confidential (1958)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Complete with a performance by Jerry Lee Lewis over its opening credits, Jack Arnold's High School Confidential stars Russ Tamblyn as Tony, a troubled street kid sent to live with his hot-to-trot aunt (Mamie Van Doren). After enrolling in school, he quickly becomes wrapped up in the local drug scene, culminating in a surprise ending. Also titled Young Hellions.
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Russ Tamblyn
as Tony Baker
Jan Sterling
as Arlene Williams
John Drew Barrymore
as J.I. Coleridge
Mamie Van Doren
as Gwen Dulaine
Diane Jergens
as Joan Staples
Burt Douglas
as Jukey Judlow
Michael Landon
as Steve Bentley
Jody Fair
as Doris
James Todd
as Jack Staples
Lyle Talbot
as William Remington Kane
William Wellman Jr.
as Wheeler-Dealer
Joe Foster
as Henchman
Diana Darrin
as Gloria
Irwin Berke
as Morino
Kim Chance
as Waitress
Della Malzahn
as Woman at Race
Gil Perkins
as Police Sergeant
Pierre Watkin
as David Wingate
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Critic Reviews for High School Confidential

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (1)

What makes High School Confidential a spectacularly unconvincing anti-marijuana manifesto also makes it a consistently amusing, eminently re-watchable camp comedy.

Full Review… | September 8, 2014
The Dissolve

As astringent a vision of the late-'50s as Frank Tashlin's are opulent

Full Review… | February 12, 2010

A most ridiculous classic cult teen-exploitation film about juvenile delinquents in the 1950s, but not without being entertaining.

Full Review… | March 28, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Hot stuff in '58, but period sleaze is nostalgic fun now.

August 3, 2007

Hilariously broad exploitation stuff.

July 26, 2002

Quote not available.

August 13, 2007
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for High School Confidential


Beatnik High This is movie is an anti-marijuana movie. It begins with Jerry Lee Lewis performing from the back of a truck in the High School parking lot. They only use one Jerry Lee Lewis song in the whole movie. Much of the dialog uses what was considered hip talk back in the 1950's Beatnik era. Compared to the Hippies of the 1960's the "Beatniks" of this movie look like clean cut wholesome kids. But they are not kids. There is not a single real teenager in the whole movie. They use actors in their very early 20's to stand in for teenagers. This was one of Michael Landon's early movies. He plays the leader of a Hot Rod club. Some of the other actors did some Bonanza episodes in the 1960's. The plot involves a planting of an undercover policeman in an unnamed High School to find the supplier of drugs to the students. This plot is used over and over again in movies and TV shows up to this day. They explicitly imply that marijuana is a gateway drug to heroin. The problem is they establish that the school principle is not told the main character is a cop and that he is too old to be in High School. He even says he spent two years in the Army. When a High School drop out joins the Army the first thing the Army does in put the recruit in a GED class. And you can't go back to High School after your 19th birthday. Jackie Coogan plays the head drug dealer. Since he played Uncle Fester in the Adams Family he doesn't look like a bad guy anymore. The only reasons to watch this movie is to laugh at what was considered hip in the 1950's, to see Mamie Van Doren in a padded bra, and to see a young Jerry Lee Lewis perform his act.

Donald White
Donald White

A most ridiculous classic cult teen-exploitation film about juvenile delinquents in the 1950s, but not without being entertaining.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

This movie may remind you of reefer madness and movies like it, and it should it's basically the same kind of film, one that's supposed to make you aware of the dark side of the teenage nightlife or something like that. This movie has a good story, but in the end it's lacking something.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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