Violent Playground Reviews
They tackled the issues of race, closeted homosexuality and with this film the issues of teen rebellion.
Of course the film being made in 1958 does mean that the message does feel a bit grey around the edges ,but despite that and the decision to film on location in Liverpool the film is an excellent snapshot of the nations view on the subjects of youth.
Stanley Baker plays a top cop who is assigned to deal local youths which he feels is a step down.
During the course of the film he runs in to the Murphy family who have there own problems with teen tearaway Johnny who may or may not be responsible for a cluster of fires across the city.
What follows is a touch creaky in places but thanks to Bakers performance and David McCallum as the teen rebel who ends up in a siege situation Dearden manages to make a strong social comment while giving us a tense and exciting thriller.
A detective is assigned to patrol local playgrounds and try to teach children that police officers aren't so bad and juvenile hall is not their desired path. One of the first children the inspector tries to steer out of trouble, Johnnie, becomes a pyromaniac and nuisance to the neighborhood. Johnnie becomes a very rough character for the inspector to handle.
"You tell him to stop asking questions."
"Dry it, kid."
Basil Dearden, director of Masquerade, Woman of Straw, A Place to Go, Victim, Man in the Moon, The Man Who Haunted Himself, Dead of the Night, The League of Gentlemen, and Khartoum, delivers Violent Playground. The storyline for this picture was interesting and entertaining to watch unfold. The characters were interesting and the acting was very solid. The cast includes Peter Cushing, Stanley Baker, David McCallum, and Tsai Chin.
"If you fight a war against my children I'll tie it around your neck and throw you under the docks."
Violent Playground is a movie I targeted off Netflix since it starred Peter Cushing and I had never heard of it. The movie is definitely more of a psychological thriller than a horror film, but it was still fun to see Cushing in this role. It was interesting to see Cushing as a priest and not trying to kill vampires or some creature of the night. Overall, this movie is worth watching once if you're a fan of the old classics.
"If you kill again, you kill yourself."
Grade: C+/B- (6.5)