CRIME IN THE STREETS is so obviously a message picture that's it's almost painfully didactic in spots, a less-than-classic "Juvenile Delinquent" opus. The worst element is the social worker (James Whitmore_ who tries so desperately to change a clearly deeply disturbed, would-be psychopath Frankie (Cassavetes) with useless talk. It's that talk that nearly kills the movie. Very little happens for long stretches while characters discuss and argue at length. To his credit, Whitmore pulls off his thankless role as well as anyone probably could. Cassavetes has his moments too, but his method style is often distracting and he's clearly too old for the typical 1950s "Juvenile Delinquent" part, despite his boyish looks and short stature. Mark Rydell plays a coded gay part, relayed through stereotyped sweeping gestures, cigarette in hand. He's excited by Frankie's violent talk and volatile personality. The forgotten Virginia Gregg hurls herself into the role of Frankie's downtrodden mother. Immersed in misery and hopelessness, she's inert, and blind to the cause her son's real problem. It's not hard to guess what Frankie's problem is about, many years and many psycho-social films after this film was made. As Frankie's long-suffering little brother, Peter J. Votrian never hits a false note and he successfully carries a couple the film's emotive climaxes. This really is an actor's movie, and two other actors bring to life the film's strongest emotional scene. Will Kuluva, another forgotten talent from the period, gives genuine paternal feeling to his part. But it's Sal Mineo as Kuluva's son, "Baby" who gives the film's truest and most realized performance. Mineo was a real, instinctive, highly gifted actor. In spite of similarities to some of his other roles in this period, he puts a distinctive mark on "Baby" and the viewer is not likely to forget him. If only this film had more energy, more action perhaps, and less talk, it may have had greater impact.