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A young police officer returns to high school undercover to investigate the drug trade.
In order to crack a burgeoning drug ring, police agent Mike Wilson goes undercover as Tony Baker, a troublesome high school student transferring into Santa Bella high school. On the first day of school, Mike brazenly flirts with pretty Joan Staples, who is dating the school tough, J. I. Coleridge. Mike then befriends Petey, who informs him about the different groups around the school. Later in class, Mike antagonizes teacher Arlene Williams who angrily sends Mike to principal Mr. W. O. Robinson. After establishing himself as a rowdy troublemaker at school, Mike returns home to the apartment he shares with Gwen Dulaine, who is posing as Tony's aunt. Restless and bored because her husband is out of town, Gwen flirts with Mike, but he is disinterested and cautions her to maintain her cover. A few days later, city commissioner Walter Burroughs meets with Robinson and the high school teachers to discuss the dangers of drug addiction and its encroachment into public schools. Back in school, Mike meets Steve Bentley, the head of a drag car racing group called the Rangers, but refuses to join the group. Overhearing part of a conversation between Joan and J. I., Mike learns that Joan smokes marijuana and is anxious as she does not have enough money to make a purchase. The next afternoon, when Arlene's car stalls, Mike offers her a ride home. On the way, she counsels him to tone down his belligerent behavior, but he remains cavalier. At the local club that night, Joan brings a small amount of money but is dismayed when J. I. tells her that it is still inadequate to "score" a "hit." Mike arrives and while dancing with Joan, suggests that he might be able to help her acquire some marijuana. At a swimming party at Joan's home the next day, Mike admits that he has been unable to secure any marijuana, prompting Joan to reveal that she usually buys from Jukey Judlaw. The festive mood of the party comes to an end when a schoolmate, Doris, breaks down and Joan sees her friend's arm covered with needle marks. Mike tells Joan that hard drugs are the inevitable result of marijuana addiction. Later that night, Mike meets Jukey and asks to buy five pounds of marijuana, but Jukey insists that he only sells individual marijuana "sticks" or cigarettes. Jukey offers to introduce Mike to his supplier the following evening at the teenagers' makeshift drag racetrack. The next day at school, Arlene meets privately with Mike to ask him to join the after-school program she runs for students with difficulties. Mike scoffs at her, however, and refuses. On the way to the drag racetrack that night, Joan happily smokes a "joint" and is surprised when Mike refuses, claiming he is only interested in marijuana as a business. At the track, Mike asks J. I. if he knows the name of Jukey's supplier and J. I. reveals that he is the local dealer working for a key supplier named Mr. A. Mike buys all of J. I.'s marijuana, which he then packs into his car's hubcap. During the race against Steve and three other boys, Mike's hubcap is knocked loose and falls off just as the police arrive. Mike and several teens are arrested, but Mike pleads innocent and is surprised to be bailed out by attorney William Remington Kane, who works for Mr. A. At school the next day, Arlene expresses concern over Mike's arrest and when he responds flippantly, Arlene goes to Mike's apartment to confront Gwen about the situation. Gwen defends Mike, but when he arrives later, she makes vague threats to expose him if their masquerade does not end soon. At a party at the local club that night, J. I. interrupts Mike's date with Joan to take him to Mr. A. Mike is able to warn fellow police agent Quinn, posing as a waiter, about the plan. J. I. and Mike are driven by Mr. A's assistant Bix to an office where J. I. introduces Mike to Mr. August, the drug supplier, who owns the local club. Mr. A. reveals that he has had Mike investigated and although he checks out, he wants to verify that Mike was once a heroin user. Mr. A offers Mike an injection and, after palming a small rubber ball, Mike feigns taking the drug by injecting it into the ball. Satisfied, Mr. A agrees to sell Mike a large drug supply. Mike then reports to his police superior that they can make an arrest as soon as he receives the drugs from Mr. A. At home that night, as Mike listens to the secret audio recording that he made of his meeting with Mr. A., he discovers Joan, high on marijuana, waiting in his room. When Bix calls a few moments later to tell Mike to meet him immediately, Mike telephones Arlene and pleads with her to come over and help Joan. Arlene arrives after Mike's departure and struggles to calm Joan, who is searching desperately for a "joint." Soon afterward, J. I. and Jukey come by the apartment and, finding Mike absent, order Joan to stop seeing him. Terrified, Joan blurts out that she has overheard a tape Mike recorded with Mr. A's voice on it. After the boys depart, Joan tearfully tells Arlene that she is renouncing her use of marijuana. At the club, Mike meets Bix and Mr. A. in the kitchen, but just after Mike receives the drug supply, J. I. telephones. Mr. A. then searches Mike and finds a recording wire on him. Meanwhile, out on the club floor, Quinn reveals his identity to Steve and asks him for the Rangers' help. When Mr. A. attempts to shoot Mike, he escapes and a fight breaks out. With the assistance of Steve and his gang, Mr. A. and his cohorts are overpowered, although Quinn is killed. Later, Mr. A. and Bix are arrested and convicted and J. I. and Jukey are placed in juvenile detention.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 30 May 1958|
|Release Date:||1958||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Albert Zugsmith Productions, Inc.|
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HSC-So Not A Drag!
Bruce Reber 2008-10-15
I saw "High School Confidential" again on TCM last night 10/14/08 - this has to be one of my favorite Teen movies from the 50's (in fact it...
What A Blast
Cars, chicks, music, cool lingo...and Mamie Van Doren. I love this movie.
Vintage 1950s teen trouble flick. Russ Tamblyn was one of several James Dean replacements then and fits it well. The relationship between Tamblyn and Mamie...