Frankenheimer had already directed MacArthur in the original play (Deal a Blow) for television, and his movie debut still smacks somewhat of small-screen ambitions in its emphasis on low-key 'realism' and dramatic intimacy. Nevertheless, it's one of the better generation gap dramas of the '50s, since at least its tale of a movie executive's neglected and embittered son, who gets into trouble with the law after he assaults a cinema manager, is for the most past psychologically acute and sensitively acted. There's the usual explanatory pleading about lack of parental love, and the film lacks the force, dramatic unity and stylistic flair of Rebel Without a Cause. Still, Frankenheimer manages to avoid the pitfalls of most Hollywood portrayals of flaming youth, with MacArthur providing a performance of impressive depth and understatement.
The Young Stranger
Cast and crew