6.6/10
469
23 user 8 critic

Violent Playground (1958)

Struggle between a Liverpool Juvenile Liaison officer and a young and dangerous pyromaniac.

Director:

Basil Dearden

Writer:

James Kennaway (original screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stanley Baker ... Truman
Anne Heywood ... Cathie
David McCallum ... Johnnie Murphy
Peter Cushing ... Priest
John Slater ... Sgt. Walker
Clifford Evans ... Heaven
Moultrie Kelsall ... Superintendent
George A. Cooper ... Chief Inspector
Brona Boland Brona Boland ... Mary Murphy
Fergal Boland Fergal Boland ... Patrick Murphy
Michael Chow ... Alexander
Tsai Chin ... Primrose
Sean Lynch ... Slick
Bernice Swanson Bernice Swanson ... Meg (as Benice Swanson)
Freddie Starr ... Tommy (as Fred Fowell)
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Storyline

Struggle between a Liverpool Juvenile Liaison officer and a young and dangerous pyromaniac.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

teenager | rock music | See All (2) »

Taglines:

EVERY CITY HAS ITS DANGEROUS YOUTH. Stark, explosive drama - as the camera lays bare the heart of a big city and probe the secrets of its Violent Playground.

Genres:

Drama | Crime

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1958 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Desperat ungdom See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Rank Organisation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75: 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Baker and David McCallum had starred together as brothers in the previous years Hell Drivers. See more »

Goofs

Scotland road school is set in Liverpool, but near the end of the film, after the classroom siege, when the priest is outside the school front, in the background you can see a London Trolleybus glide by. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Empire of the Censors (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Play Rough
Sung by Johnny Luck (Fontana Recording Artist)
Lyric by Paddy Roberts
Music by Philip Green (as Phil Green)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tough-as-nails Liverpudlian crime flick
30 June 2014 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

VIOLENT PLAYGROUND sees tough detective Stanley Baker assigned to a new role after falling foul of his boss; he's directed to head up a juvenile crime prevention scheme. Baldwin fears that his new role will be anything but interesting, but things turn out otherwise as a sub-plot involving an arsonist terrorising the streets of Liverpool becomes mixed up with the main story.

This is a gritty, ahead-of-its-time thriller that mixes social drama with a hard-hitting crime flick. It's surprisingly modern in feel, with tight, character-based drama mixed with action, ranging from car chases to hostage scenarios and of course one or two fiery set-pieces. Basil Dearden's black-and-white photography is crisp and clear and he makes sure to elicit strong performances from his cast members.

Baker is one of those underrated actors who sort of got forgotten about after his death, aside from his role in ZULU, of course, but he's very good given the right material and VIOLENT PLAYGROUND is perfectly suited for his talents. Baker is supported by an engaging cast, including Anne Heywood's love interest and Peter Cushing's priest, and it's worth looking out for future stars Tsai Chin and Freddie Starr in more minor parts. The best actor of the lot is David McCallum in a real star-making turn as the disturbed delinquent whose storyline propels the narrative. Altogether VIOLENT PLAYGROUND is a pacey and engaging piece of film-making which mixes drama and thrills in an effective way.


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