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This Rebel Breed

This Rebel Breed(1960)

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The working titles of this film were Juvenile Jungle, Fuzz, Black Rebels and All God's Children. Acccording to a September 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, the titled was changed from This Angry Age after Columbia protested that is was too similiar to that of its 1958 film This Angry Age. Although May 1959 Hollywood Reporter news items added Roger Wright, Jerry Brent and Shirley Jones to the cast, the appearance of Wright and Brent in the film has not been confirmed and Jones was not in the picture.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in July 1956, a contract was being negotiated between Bob Hope Enterprises and the International Association of Chiefs of Police for a yearly feature and a television series to be produced that would be based on police cases. Producer William Rowland was involved in these negotiations.
       The feature, which became This Rebel Breed, was based on a story that appeared in the Los Angeles Police Department's magazine Beat, which had been chosen by the I.A.C.P. as the outstanding police story of the year. By May 1957, the agreement had been executed between the I.A.C.P. and a company called Police Hall of Fame, Inc., in which Rowland and Monte Brice were executive producers and A. B. Guthrie, Jr. had an interest. Bob Hope, associated with the company, had discussed a distribution deal with United Artists by the time a script was submitted to the PCA for approval.
       Although the PCA deemed the script unacceptable due to "excessive violence and brutality among juveniles," by May 22, 1958, a revised script was judged to meet the PCA's requirements. In May 1959, a week before filming began, Rowland wrote to the PCA regarding the film on Paramount Pictures letterhead; it is not known, however, if Paramount was involved with the production or financing of this film. By this time, the producers had arranged a distribution deal with Warner Bros.
       Prior to filming, the PCA pointed out three troublesome areas in the final screenplay: the violence and brutality; "excessive use of the words 'spic' and 'nigger'"; and the "casual" treatment of "Lola's" pregnancy. Concerning the use of racial invective, a PCA official wrote, "Since these words are obviously offensive to certain people their use should be limited to those situations where the words have dramatic validity."
       The film was not exhibited in the cities of Memphis, Atlanta, Dallas and Fort Worth. According to a Daily Variety article, the film was booked for a March 30, 1960 opening in Memphis, but withdrawn after the head of the censor board and a second member objected to the film, saying it "shows teenagers selling drugs, and unfavorably portrays white, Negro and Mexican races." Although the board failed to muster the votes to ban the film, Rowland filed an equity suit in the Memphis Federal Court in May 1960 against the censor board, but withdrew the suit following a request by Warner Bros. A Variety article states that the theater manager in Memphis said the film had never been booked. The censor boards in Atlanta, Dallas and Fort Worth rejected the film for exhibition. In 1965, Rowland, who had regained the film's rights, began releasing it under the title Lola's Mistake.
       Hollywood Reporter called This Rebel Breed the first theatrical film to be "completely 'serviced'" by Ziv-TV. Location shooting was done in East Los Angeles. New York Times commented that the film "substitutes action for insight but maintains enough excitement to place it a cut or two above the usual sensationalized products of the genre." Variety stated, "Its aims May be lofty, to promote some racial common sense through horrible example, but its narrative means are suspect. A brief lecture at the film's conclusion does not quite wash away repeated use of crude racial terms or explicit scenes of inter-racial cruelty and violence."