Young and Dangeous – (1957)

I found this little known and all but forgotten movie on Netflix.  I did not know what to think of this movie at first.  I almost skipped ot, but then I decided to give it a try.  I was not expecting  much from it, but I was very pleasantly surprised.  I enjoyed this movie a lot!

Young and Dangerous is a teenage coming of age movie.  It stars Lili Gentle as Rosemary Clinton and Mark Damon as Tommy Price.  The movie was directed by William Claxton and released in 1957.  I would say that the budget for this movie was quite low.  Never the less the director and all of the actors made this movie a winner.

Tommy Price is a 19-year-old who has no direction in life despite coming from a good family.  He won’t go to college or get a job.  Tommy spends his time with two other losers who only think about girls and bedding them down.  One evening at the drive in restaurant where all the youngsters hang out, Tommy’s two bone head friends dare him to ask goody two shoes and straight-laced Rosemary Clinton for a date.  Tommy believes that he can break down Rosemary and get her into bed.  Tommy accepts the challenge and asks Rosemary out.  Rosemary accepts, but is warned about Tommy by her best friend who is played by a very young, pretty and adorable Connie Stevens.

Rosemary is 17 years old and already a high school graduate.  Rosemary continues to live with her parents while working full-time during the day.

After Rosemary returns home from the drive in, she tries to tell her mother about her date but she is too busy gossiping on the phone and brushes Rosemary off.  Both of Rosemary’s parents are very self-absorbed.  I was really turned off by both of them.  Rosemary’s father was played by Dabbs Greer who you will remember was Reverend Alden on Little House on the Prairie for almost 10 years.  Rosemary’s parents were always going out in the evening to spend time with other couples, leaving Rosemary at home to busy herself.  When Rosemary finally gets a date all of a sudden her parents have so much to say about her life.

Tommy is not exactly the most well-mannered when he arrives at Rosemary’s house to pick her up.  Instead of ringing the doorbell, Tommy blows the horn from his car and expects Rosemary to come running out.  Rosemary’s father forbids her to go out to Tommy.  Mr. Clinton tells Rosemary that if Tommy does not ring the bell for her and meet them first she is not going out with him.  I agreed with that 100%.  No man should be blowing the horn for you to come out when he is taking you out on a date.  Additionally, if it is his first time taking you out and you live with your parents he should have the good manners to introduce himself to them.  I don’t have any children, but if I did have a daughter and some guy blew the horn for her to come out like that I would be livid.  Tommy does finally get out of the car and rings the bell, but he barely says anything to Rosemary’s father and practically brushed him off.  It was not a good impression at all.

After Tommy picks Rosemary up and they leave for their date, instead of taking her to a party, Tommy drives to a remote spot and begins making out with her.  Rosemary doesn’t mind until Tommy starts to take things too far.  Rosemary resists, but Tommy begins to get forceful.  Rosemary stands her ground and keeps saying no to Tommy.  Tommy finally gets very upset and decides to call off the date and take her back home.  Rosemary really likes Tommy and doesn’t want to go back home.  She just wants to spend some time with Tommy without him groping her and expecting it to end in sex.  Good for you Rosemary!

Tommy is not used to not getting his way with the girls, and besides he made a bet with his two loser friends.  Tommy tries again to get Rosemary to loosen up and go all the way with him, but again Rosemary resists and they get into a scuffle.  Rosemary’s dress gets ripped during the scuffle and she gets out of the car and runs away.  Tommy goes after her and strangely enough tries to comfort her and reassure her.  Men can be so Neanderthal.  Rosemary said NO.  As a matter of fact she said NO, multiple times but Tommy kept trying to force himself on her.  If somehow  though you manage to get away then you earn the respect of a man?  That is just really twisted and I remember being in that situation myself a few times in the past.  No means NO and when you say NO it does not mean YES, go ahead and force me into it.

While Tommy is helping Rosemary calm down and get herself together, two cops find them and takes them into the police station.  Rosemary’s parents and Tommy’s parents are called and they arrive at the station.  Rosemary’s father is livid and forbids Tommy to ever come near his daughter again.  Tommy’s father defends his son, but in private he is very disappointed in Tommy.  Mr. Price talks to Tommy again about going to college or at least getting a job and stop hanging with losers.

After the entire ordeal, Tommy still wants to see Rosemary.  He appreciates her and no girl before ever stood up to him the way she did.  Rosemary and Tommy continue to see each other, but they have to sneak around because Rosemary’s father forbids her to see him.

Rosemary and Tommy’s relationship is passionate, but a wholesome one.  Tommy falls completely in love with Rosemary and she inspires him to want to be a better person and do something meaningful with his life.  Rosemary is actually quite mature for a 17-year-old girl.  She knows what she wants out of life and stays focused on it.  She respects herself and insists that Tommy respect her too.  Tommy proposes to Rosemary and wants to marry her right away.  Rosemary loves Tommy and agrees to marry him, but encourages him to go to college first.  She will continue to work and save up money for both of them to have a good solid nest egg when they get married.  If only all 17 year olds were this level-headed.

Tommy tells his father about his plans to marry Rosemary and go to college first.  Mr. Price is elated and proud of his son.  However, now Rosemary has to tell her parents that she has been seeing Tommy secretly and they plan to marry.  The first time that Rosemary tries to tell her father, he would not even listen and keeps cutting her off.  I wanted to slap Mr. Price silly.  He will not shut up and listen for even a moment.  He just wants to dictate to Rosemary.

Later that evening Rosemary’s parents return home to find her in the house with Tommy.  Tommy got into a fight with some of his losers friends and Rosemary was tending to his wounds.  Mr. Clinton has a fit and won’t listen to Rosemary when she tries to explain.

The situation gets really intense  and Rosemary runs out of the house upset and crying.
Tommy remains in the house to defend Rosemary, but Mr. Clinton still just wants to yell and shout.  Mrs. Clinton has to come between them.  Tommy loves Rosemary very much and he is determined to explain to both of Rosemary’s parents what a wonderful daughter they have.  Just the right words beautifully come out of Tommy’s mouth and Rosemary’s father finally listens.  After telling Mr. and Mrs Clinton about how special Rosemary is, he pleads with them not to take her away from him.  I was so proud of Tommy and it was a teary moment for me….boo hoo, sniff sniff.

The movie ends shortly after this intense scene and it was definitely a Hallmark moment.  You will have to watch it for yourself to find out.

I really loved this movie.  If you are a true romantic you will get a kick out of it.  It is so sweet watching 1950’s love stories.  Today’s audience would probably not appreciate this and consider it unrealistic, but there are still romances that evolve without the two people getting naked first.  These types of love may be few and far between these days, but it still does exist.  I love movies based on Jane Austen’s books much more than the ones that take place in present day and the people end up in bed 48 hours after meeting.  I love romance based on a soul to soul connection instead of a purely sexual one.  If you feel the same way you will enjoy this movie a lot.  If you don’t feel that way than this movie may be too corny for you.

 Lili Gentle
Mark Damon

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