This Rebel Breed (1960) - Rotten Tomatoes

This Rebel Breed (1960)

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Movie Info

Race hatred and drug trafficking threaten to tear apart a California high school in this teen drama. Frank White (Mark Damon) and Don Walters (Doug Hume) are a pair of undercover police officers who are sent to a high school dominated by three gangs. Don, who is white, tries to infiltrate the Anglo gang the Royals, led by Buck (Richard Rust), while Frank, who is of Hispanic and African-American heritage, is to make his way into the school's black gang, the Ebonys, while also keeping his eye on a Mexican-American club, the Caballeros. Frank soon finds he's not welcomed by the Black or Mexican gangs, and when he strikes up a friendship with Lola (Rita Moreno), a pretty Mexican-American girl, he gains a fierce enemy in her brother Manuel (Richard Laurier), one of the leaders of the Caballeros. Meanwhile, Buck and the Royals have started dealing dope as a way to make money, and he's pressuring Manuel and his gang to do the same, something Manuel fiercely opposes. Manuel is also not happy about rumors that Lola is secretly dating one of the Royals, while the Ebonys have it in for Buck when they find out the secret hidden by his sexy girlfriend, Wiggles (Dyan Cannon, then still spelling her first name "Diane"). This Rebel Breed was first released in 1960; five years later, producer William Rowland added some incongruous inserts filled with nudity and re-released the film to grindhouses and drive-ins under the titles Black Rebels, Lola's Mistake, and Three Shades of Love.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Warner Bros.

Cast

Rita Moreno
as Lola Montalvo
Mark Damon
as Frank Serano
Jay Novello
as Papa Montalvo
Gerald Mohr
as Lt. Robert Brooks
Tom Gilson
as Muscles
Don Eitner
as Jimmy
Dyan Cannon
as Wiggles
Ken Miller
as Winnie
Kenny Miller
as Winnie
Al Freeman Jr.
as Satchel
Charles Franc
as Scratch
Ike Jones
as Latimer
Hari Rhodes
as Claude
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Critic Reviews for This Rebel Breed

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Audience Reviews for This Rebel Breed

It always feels great to find an undiscovered little gem out of nowhere, especially if that nowhere happens to be your own video collection. I've had a copy of THE BLACK REBELS (aka THIS REBEL BREED, LOLA'S MISTAKE and THREE SHADES OF LOVE) on video for years, since I got it as part of a trade deal, but never watched it until today. What was I thinking? I'd even seen the trailer for LOLA'S MISTAKE on several Something Weird comps, but I'd had no idea that I actually had the movie in my collection. Some days, I'm just an idiot. By any name, THE BLACK REBELS is a great piece of juvenile delinquent cinema, right up there with HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL. The film begins with the beating of a black student, the most recent of several that causes the cops to send in two rookie officers undercover at a local high school. The high school is essentially comprised of three gangs--the white Royals, the Mexican Caballeros and the black Ebonies, all of whom hate each other. The Royals are led by Buck, a meanie who's running the reefer trade, but wants to break into the ethnic markets, even to the point of handing our joints to grade school kids. Frank, one of the two cops (played by Mark Damon), poses as a half-Mexican, half-black student and gets involved with Lola (Rita Moreno!), a half-white, half-Mexican girl dating Jimmy, a white boy trying to get into the Royals. Lola's brother Manuel disapproves of Lola dating anyone outside of Mexicans, and beats up the cop for merely walking his sister home. Buck ends up killing Jimmy, framing Manuel for the murder. Meanwhile, the drug kingpin involved wants to see a turf war between the Caballeros and the Ebonies, and the other cop attempts to secure Buck's loyal sidekick to become a partner in a drug scam. With enough plot for at least three JD flicks, THE BLACK REBELS is practically overflowing with drama and dated angst. There's racism, drugs, beatniks, teen pregnancy, a black student being painted white, a white student being exposed as black, pool parties, rumbles, and some amazing dialogue. (In his attempt to join the Ebonies, the cop comes up with the brilliant question, "You need a *snap, snap* swinging cat?") In addition, there's even a smattering of nudity to keep desperate heterosexuals awake, mostly in clips of one of the cops occasionally walking in on various couples going at it, having nothing to do with the plot. My guess is there were quick inserts, and made to be easy to remove depending on which terriroty the film was being screened in. There's even a bizarre toe-sucking scene that comes out of nowhere! (THE BLACK REBELS, by the way, is the most misleading of the titles. Though the film deals with racism, the black gang is presented as the least rebellious. But that's the title Something Weird has it under.) It's such a highly entertaining flick that it amazes me that it hasn't gotten any more of a cult reputation--the IMDB doesn't even list a single review for it! Fans of 60's JD flicks should definitely seek this one out. Watch for a young Dyan Cannon as "Wiggles!" (Side note: Why have I never seen an interview with Mark Damon in any cult film mag? The guy's career is amazing, ranging from this to the Corman FALL THE THE HOUSE OF USHER to Radley Metzger's LITTLE MOTHER to YOUNG HANNAH, QUEEN OF THE VAMPIRES to Mario Bava's BLACK SABBATH to Troma's STUCK ON YOU!)

Paul Freitag
Paul Freitag

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