16 December 2006 | edwagreen
The Young Stranger- Witnesses Anyone? **1/2
A teenage James MacArthur stars in this film dealing with the age old theme of listen to your children as well as try to believe them.
From an affluent Beverly Hill home, MacArthur finds himself being harassed in a movie theater after a patron complained about his putting his legs on a chair. The problem is that there were plenty of people saw the harassment by the manager of the theater but no one was asked to say anything. This is a definite problem in the screen writing.
I had actually forgotten that James Daly was an actor. I remember him in television commercials. As his wife, Kim Hunter looks like she is annoyed with the whole plot. We suddenly find out that she has been contemplating leaving Daly for 5 years. What's stopping you lady, your life of luxury?
While John Frankenheimer always dealt with social problems, this one is cliché ridden.
Acting kudos goes to James Gregory as a hard-nosed police officer who adds to the problem by giving MacArthur a bad time. I think this picture was a cheap stunt to continue the theme of "Rebel Without A Cause." That Sal Mineo masterpiece also deals with wayward youth and a loss of interaction between parent and child. "Young Stranger" is adequate but certainly not in the league of "Rebel."
Whit Bissell is effective as the theater owner who is fed up with the behavior of all teenage movie-goers and wants to use MacArthur as an example. Usually a cowardly co-star in grade B films of the 1950s, Bissell shows his adeptness of really being a weakling.
With regard to Gregory, Frankenheimer would get a brilliant performance out of him in 1962's "The Manchurian Candidate." Remember him as the moronic senator married to Angela Lansbury?