This Rebel Breed


1h 30m 1960

Film Details

Also Known As
All God's Children, Black Rebels, Fuzz, Juvenile Jungle, Lola's Mistake, This Angry Breed
Release Date
Mar 19, 1960
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
All God's Children Co.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--East Los Angeles, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
8,305ft (10 reels)

Synopsis

After an altercation between members of the Ebonies, a black teenage gang, and Buck Madison, leader of the white gang, the Royals, and his girl friend Wiggles, police lieutenant Robert Brooks of the juvenile division assigns rookies Frank Serano and Don Walters to infiltrate the gangs at Bailey Union High School. Frank is of mixed Mexican and African-American heritage, while Don is white. At the school, a social science teacher assigns Lola Montalvo and Frank to be partners in a debate arguing that racial hatred is a mark of ignorance. Although Lola snubs Frank at first, they begin to study together, which provokes her brother Manuel, leader of the Mexican-American gang, the Caballeros, to warn Frank to keep away from Lola. Aided by gang, Manuel beats up Frank as he leaves the library with Lola. When Lola's father learns about the attack, he reprimands her for sneaking off to meet blacks and for "making eyes at Anglos." Papa, though, tries to convince Manuel to learn tolerance, but Manuel bitterly blames the death of his white mother on the fact that her family would not speak to her after she married Papa. When Buck approaches Manuel about joining forces to sell marijuana in the "spic" market, they have a scuffle, and Manuel loses a religious necklace, which Buck pockets. Meanwhile, Frank speaks with Satchel, the leader of the Ebonies, about joining, but Satchel refuses because Frank is half-Mexican. After Buck tries to kiss Lola in the school hallway, Frank trips Buck, who calls him a "dirty nigger," but their fight is interrupted by a school official. During a party, Buck buys drugs from a white racist named Elliott, who has urged Buck to sell the drug in the Mexican neighborhood. Elliott, who wants to stir up trouble between the Ebonies and the Caballeros, tells Buck about Lola's secret love affair with a member of the Royals, Jimmy Wallace. After Brooks and a black narcotics officer raid the party, Buck's cohort Muscles accuses Jimmy of calling the police, and they take him to a deserted railroad yard. There, Jimmy falls onto a spike as he struggles with Buck and Muscles, and when Jimmy dies, Buck leaves Manuel's necklace near the body. After arresting Manuel, Brooks interrogates Lola, who blames Buck and determines to obtain evidence against him. When Lola presents her side of the racial question in class, she emphasizes the loss to society when people do not allow others to function as equals. After class, when Don asks Buck if he can join the Royals, and Buck sends Muscles to fight him at an abandoned lot. During the fight, Don convinces Muscles, who is unhappy with Buck, to join him in a drug deal. Frank trails Lola to a doctor's office, and when she leaves dejectedly, he tends to her and surmises that she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Buck has given Satchel's little brother George and his friends some marijuana cigarettes. When Frank and Lola find George, sick from the drugs, Frank carries him to Satchel. In back of Gabby's Grill, the Royals' hangout, Buck and his gang interrogate one of the Ebonies responsible for the attack on Buck and Wiggles. When the captive retorts that Wiggles is black, Buck becomes enraged. He rips open the gang member's shirt, slops white paint over him and declares that they are "integrating" him. Later, Buck insults Wiggles, and after she becomes hysterical, he propositions Lola in front of her. Lola accepts and the gang go to a party at the home of Winnie, a rich boy who is trying get into the gang. At the party, Buck attempts to take Lola into a bedroom, but is interrupted when Elliott arrives. Meanwhile, Lola's little brother Rudy, who has learned she is in trouble, is stopped by George when he runs through the black neighborhood on his way to ask the Caballeros for help. Upon learning that Rudy is trying to help Lola, George tells Satchel, who gathers together the Ebonies. Meanwhile, Manuel, who has been released from jail, assembles the Caballeros. After Elliott sells drugs to Buck, he privately meets with Muscles and Don and agrees to return with more drugs for them to buy. Frank, who has learned Winnie's address from Wiggles, sneaks in a window and tries to get Lola to leave. When Papa, who has tracked down Lola after learning of her pregnancy, arrives, Lola confesses it is Jimmy's baby and accuses Buck of murdering him. Buck, however, blames Muscles, and as Muscles runs out, Don identifies himself as a police officer. As Elliott returns carrying a gun, the black and Mexican gangs arrive and agree to fight together against the Royals. Brooks and the narcotics officer then arrive and break up the brawl. While the officer is capturing Elliott, Frank throws Buck through a window, then bandages his injuries. After Brooks castigates the gang for not considering members of other races as human beings, Frank takes Lola home and they admit that they need each other.

Film Details

Also Known As
All God's Children, Black Rebels, Fuzz, Juvenile Jungle, Lola's Mistake, This Angry Breed
Release Date
Mar 19, 1960
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
All God's Children Co.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Los Angeles--East Los Angeles, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
8,305ft (10 reels)

Articles

Black Rebels/Murder in Mississippi - Drug Dealers, Teenage Gangs and Racial Tensions are the subjects of a Double Feature from Something Weird Video


Leave it to Something Weird Video to come up with a catchy marketing hook for its latest DVD release, a tawdry pair of drive-in flicks - The Black Rebels (1960) and Murder in Mississippi (1965) - billed as a "Sinful South double feature." Don't look for these on Turner South anytime soon....or Turner Classic Movies for that matter. In fact, the more recognizable of the two titles - The Black Rebels - has nothing to do with the south unless the SWV folks mean Southern California. Set in a Los Angeles high school (the palm trees and ethnic mix of students is a dead giveaway), this exploitation drama aimed at teenage audiences of the early sixties mixes up rival gangs, racial tensions, undercover cops and drug dealers in a scenario that flip flops from one genre to another. Is it a juvenile delinquency melodrama or a sexploitation film or a message movie pleading for racial tolerance? It's all that and more, though the film is far more interesting for the surprising number of well-known actors and familiar faces on display than its schizophrenic juggling of daring topics.

The Black Rebels opens a la Dragnet with voiceover narration by a certain Lt. Brooks, Juvenile Division, who warns us "The story you are about to see is not pleasant..." We are then introduced to two rookies who are being planted in a local high school where they will try to infiltrate separate gangs. Frank (Mark Damon) who is part-Mexican and part-Black - though his makeup makes him look like a Malibu Ken doll - quickly finds he is unwanted by any gang. Don (Doug Hume), however, manages to pass himself off as a hoodlum with a prison record and eventually becomes a henchman for Buck (Richard Rust), the high school drug pusher and resident sadist. The other plot development and one which ignites all of the racial tension in the film involves the secret romance between Lola (Rita Moreno), a Mexican girl, and Jimmy (Don Eitner), a member of Buck's high white gang. When the truth is discovered, Jimmy is confronted and accidentally killed by Buck, who then frames Lola's brother for the murder. But the true culprit is unmasked in a house-smashing rumble between all of the gangs before the cops arrive and stop the madness.

One thing that needs some clarification is the title The Black Rebels. It was the re-release title of this film which first opened in 1960 as This Rebel Breed; it was directed by Richard L. Bare who worked regularly in television on such series as Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and The Twilight Zone. Additional footage was then shot by the producer William Rowland - soft core sex scenes with mostly topless female nudity - and inserted into the film as a subplot involving Don, one of the undercover cops. The new scenes stand out like sore thumbs with fleshy, out of shape bodies groping each other while Don, forever stumbling into the wrong room, interrupts them periodically. Though The Black Rebels enjoyed a new lease on life on drive-in circuits, it also showed up in some regions under such titles as Lola's Mistake and Three Shades of Love.

Rita Moreno, who is top billed, was just a year away from her Oscar®-winning performance as Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story (1961). She had already been playing minor roles in numerous prestige films before this, including Singin' in the Rain (1952) and The King and I (1956), so her appearance in a low-budget B movie like The Black Rebels is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it was the opportunity to accept a starring role or maybe she found the subject matter appealing; it is, after all, a precursor to West Side Story with its Romeo and Juliet-like star-crossed lovers and battling street gangs.

It's also a surprise to see the future Mrs. Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon (spelled Diane in the credits), as 'Wiggles," the wild for kicks girlfriend of the chief badass. Ms. Cannon is quite the little minx here, cavorting by the jukebox or taunting the cops, but nothing prepares you for the final revelation about her character which is completely unbelievable but also sets in motion the violent finale. Other distinguished actors in the supporting cast include Al Freeman, Jr., one of the great unheralded black actors of the sixties, Gerald Mohr as the Sgt. Friday-like investigating cop, character actor Jay Novello in the thankless role of Lola's sad sack father, and B-movie heart throb Mark Damon, no relation to Matt, who gave up acting for executive producing (his most recent achievements are Monster (2003) which won Charlize Theron an Oscar® and The Upside of Anger, 2005).

The co-feature to The Black Rebels is an abomination entitled Murder in Mississippi which is ineptly directed, poorly acted and painfully sincere at times in its attempt to add relevance to a sleazy storyline. Rushed into grindhouses only a year after the tragic deaths of three Civil Rights workers (James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman) in Mississippi, the film not only exploits the worst aspects of that front page news story but also tosses in a sexploitation subplot with prostitution, female nudity and attempted rape. The story, set in the fictitious town of Lovingsboro, Mississippi, depicts what happens when a group of Civil Rights workers attempt to register Black voters in the area. The local sheriff and his officers try to scare them off but end up killing one of them in the process. This creates a new problem. What to do with Carol and Tyrone, the two volunteers who witnessed the murder? As you can imagine, nothing good lies in store for either of them but Carol's ordeal lasts longer. She is held captive in a shack and abused while her sleazy brother from Hollywood shows up with the ransom money for her captors and immediately gets down and dirty with a black hooker. Luther, the one character who helps Carol escape, is castrated for his trouble. And it should be noted that most of the black male characters in Murder in Mississippi come to a bad end with no justice served on their behalf. The cynical approach to the material could be interpreted as the filmmakers' angry response to the real case in which the suspected killers escaped sentencing - but that would be giving screenwriter Herbert S. Altman and director Joseph P. Mawra too much credit. This is indefensible trash but what would you expect from the director of Olga's House of Shame (1964)?

As usual, Something Weird has loaded the DVD with a pile of extras you really didn't want or need such as The Negro Farmer, a 1937 U.S. Department of Agriculture short subject, or audio only advertisements for drive-in fare like Machismo (1971) and Little Miss Innocence (1973). The trailers on display at least share a thematic connection to the double bill with such notorious titles as My Baby is Black (1961) and Free, White and 21 (1963). The real oddity here is a preview for The Color of Her Skin, a relatively obscure melodrama better known as Night of the Quarter Moon (1959) with Julie London in tan makeup "passing for white" and a supporting cast including Nat King Cole, John Drew Barrymore, Dean Jones, Agnes Moorehead, Jackie Coogan and Anna Kashfi (Marlon Brando's ex)!!!

For more information about Black Rebels/Murder in Mississippi, visit Image Entertainment. To order Black Rebels/Murder in Mississippi, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jeff Stafford
Black Rebels/murder In Mississippi - Drug Dealers, Teenage Gangs And Racial Tensions Are The Subjects Of A Double Feature From Something Weird Video

Black Rebels/Murder in Mississippi - Drug Dealers, Teenage Gangs and Racial Tensions are the subjects of a Double Feature from Something Weird Video

Leave it to Something Weird Video to come up with a catchy marketing hook for its latest DVD release, a tawdry pair of drive-in flicks - The Black Rebels (1960) and Murder in Mississippi (1965) - billed as a "Sinful South double feature." Don't look for these on Turner South anytime soon....or Turner Classic Movies for that matter. In fact, the more recognizable of the two titles - The Black Rebels - has nothing to do with the south unless the SWV folks mean Southern California. Set in a Los Angeles high school (the palm trees and ethnic mix of students is a dead giveaway), this exploitation drama aimed at teenage audiences of the early sixties mixes up rival gangs, racial tensions, undercover cops and drug dealers in a scenario that flip flops from one genre to another. Is it a juvenile delinquency melodrama or a sexploitation film or a message movie pleading for racial tolerance? It's all that and more, though the film is far more interesting for the surprising number of well-known actors and familiar faces on display than its schizophrenic juggling of daring topics. The Black Rebels opens a la Dragnet with voiceover narration by a certain Lt. Brooks, Juvenile Division, who warns us "The story you are about to see is not pleasant..." We are then introduced to two rookies who are being planted in a local high school where they will try to infiltrate separate gangs. Frank (Mark Damon) who is part-Mexican and part-Black - though his makeup makes him look like a Malibu Ken doll - quickly finds he is unwanted by any gang. Don (Doug Hume), however, manages to pass himself off as a hoodlum with a prison record and eventually becomes a henchman for Buck (Richard Rust), the high school drug pusher and resident sadist. The other plot development and one which ignites all of the racial tension in the film involves the secret romance between Lola (Rita Moreno), a Mexican girl, and Jimmy (Don Eitner), a member of Buck's high white gang. When the truth is discovered, Jimmy is confronted and accidentally killed by Buck, who then frames Lola's brother for the murder. But the true culprit is unmasked in a house-smashing rumble between all of the gangs before the cops arrive and stop the madness. One thing that needs some clarification is the title The Black Rebels. It was the re-release title of this film which first opened in 1960 as This Rebel Breed; it was directed by Richard L. Bare who worked regularly in television on such series as Green Acres, Petticoat Junction and The Twilight Zone. Additional footage was then shot by the producer William Rowland - soft core sex scenes with mostly topless female nudity - and inserted into the film as a subplot involving Don, one of the undercover cops. The new scenes stand out like sore thumbs with fleshy, out of shape bodies groping each other while Don, forever stumbling into the wrong room, interrupts them periodically. Though The Black Rebels enjoyed a new lease on life on drive-in circuits, it also showed up in some regions under such titles as Lola's Mistake and Three Shades of Love. Rita Moreno, who is top billed, was just a year away from her Oscar®-winning performance as Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story (1961). She had already been playing minor roles in numerous prestige films before this, including Singin' in the Rain (1952) and The King and I (1956), so her appearance in a low-budget B movie like The Black Rebels is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it was the opportunity to accept a starring role or maybe she found the subject matter appealing; it is, after all, a precursor to West Side Story with its Romeo and Juliet-like star-crossed lovers and battling street gangs. It's also a surprise to see the future Mrs. Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon (spelled Diane in the credits), as 'Wiggles," the wild for kicks girlfriend of the chief badass. Ms. Cannon is quite the little minx here, cavorting by the jukebox or taunting the cops, but nothing prepares you for the final revelation about her character which is completely unbelievable but also sets in motion the violent finale. Other distinguished actors in the supporting cast include Al Freeman, Jr., one of the great unheralded black actors of the sixties, Gerald Mohr as the Sgt. Friday-like investigating cop, character actor Jay Novello in the thankless role of Lola's sad sack father, and B-movie heart throb Mark Damon, no relation to Matt, who gave up acting for executive producing (his most recent achievements are Monster (2003) which won Charlize Theron an Oscar® and The Upside of Anger, 2005). The co-feature to The Black Rebels is an abomination entitled Murder in Mississippi which is ineptly directed, poorly acted and painfully sincere at times in its attempt to add relevance to a sleazy storyline. Rushed into grindhouses only a year after the tragic deaths of three Civil Rights workers (James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman) in Mississippi, the film not only exploits the worst aspects of that front page news story but also tosses in a sexploitation subplot with prostitution, female nudity and attempted rape. The story, set in the fictitious town of Lovingsboro, Mississippi, depicts what happens when a group of Civil Rights workers attempt to register Black voters in the area. The local sheriff and his officers try to scare them off but end up killing one of them in the process. This creates a new problem. What to do with Carol and Tyrone, the two volunteers who witnessed the murder? As you can imagine, nothing good lies in store for either of them but Carol's ordeal lasts longer. She is held captive in a shack and abused while her sleazy brother from Hollywood shows up with the ransom money for her captors and immediately gets down and dirty with a black hooker. Luther, the one character who helps Carol escape, is castrated for his trouble. And it should be noted that most of the black male characters in Murder in Mississippi come to a bad end with no justice served on their behalf. The cynical approach to the material could be interpreted as the filmmakers' angry response to the real case in which the suspected killers escaped sentencing - but that would be giving screenwriter Herbert S. Altman and director Joseph P. Mawra too much credit. This is indefensible trash but what would you expect from the director of Olga's House of Shame (1964)? As usual, Something Weird has loaded the DVD with a pile of extras you really didn't want or need such as The Negro Farmer, a 1937 U.S. Department of Agriculture short subject, or audio only advertisements for drive-in fare like Machismo (1971) and Little Miss Innocence (1973). The trailers on display at least share a thematic connection to the double bill with such notorious titles as My Baby is Black (1961) and Free, White and 21 (1963). The real oddity here is a preview for The Color of Her Skin, a relatively obscure melodrama better known as Night of the Quarter Moon (1959) with Julie London in tan makeup "passing for white" and a supporting cast including Nat King Cole, John Drew Barrymore, Dean Jones, Agnes Moorehead, Jackie Coogan and Anna Kashfi (Marlon Brando's ex)!!! For more information about Black Rebels/Murder in Mississippi, visit Image Entertainment. To order Black Rebels/Murder in Mississippi, go to TCM Shopping. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

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."

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1960

Released in United States 1960