If the word, “diversity” were used in 1955, rookie English teacher Rick Dadier (Glenn Ford) would be the role model. Stuck with the floatsum and jetsum of a Bronx Trade School, Dadier (“Daddy-O” by his students) energetically tries to win over his apathetic, disrespectful class, particularly at the extremes – Artie West (Vic Morrow), the lead juvenile delinquent (“you ever try to fight 35 guys at once, teach?”) and Gregory Miller (young Sydney Poitier) as the wiser but cynical black whose intelligence and leadership show thru (“why he's Emmanual. Emmanual Trades. They named this school after him, man.”)
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Since Dadier genuinely wants to help his students, he creatively uses props and games to stimulate his class. However, a tape recorder encourages the wrong kind of self-expression. When his timid Math colleague brings his irreplaceable jazz collection to school, the vinyl flies like frisbees. And before long, he and Dadier are beaten in an alley (“seven to two, those are about your odds, huh, West?”) But Dadier never gives up.
This groundbreaking film, which opens with Bill Haley's “Rock Around The Clock,” concludes with switchblades and battle lines drawn in the classroom showing which students Dadier has indeed reached.
The review of this Movie prepared by Angry Jim Magin