Frankie is the leader of the Hornets, a youth-filled street gang that has its share of fights and run-ins with the law. When one of the members of the Hornets is ratted out to the police by a neighbor, Frankie vows for revenge. With Frankie's anger growing, he decides to murder the Mr. McCallister, the man who ratted out his fellow gang member. Don Siegel's Crime in the Streets is a intense and relatively fast-paced melodrama that takes a pensive look at youth's desire to rebel from society. The film starts off very promising, with a well-crafted opening sequence which sees two rival gangs engage in fisticuffs. The action envelopes the title sequence, making for an engaging intro that sets up this world which Frankie and his Hornets live in. Crime in the Streets takes the time necessary to establish this time where youth gangs were common and many adults struggled to keep their children under control. We see how some parents fight tooth and nail to save their child from this life while others have simply given up completely. Crime In the Streets really captures how the majority of these teenagers simply live behind their tough facade, essentially mimicking what they've grown to believe is necessary. It doesn't completely blame the environment for their actions but a combination of things. While the film's thematic intentions are solid, if not unique, the reason to see this film is John Cassavetes performance. Making his acting debut as Frankie, the leader of the Hornets gang, Cassavettes brings an intensity to the role that is transfixing. Frankie is a young man whose busting from the seams with Anger and Cassavetes balances this character's intensity marvelously. Don Siegel's Crime in the Streets isn't anything particularly groundbreaking in theme or story but it never shy's away from showing the brutality and in combination with Cassavettes intense performance it's certainly worth seeing.
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