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The Young Stranger [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: James MacArthur, Kim Hunter, James Daly, James Gregory, Whit Bissell
  • Directors: John Frankenheimer
  • Writers: Robert Dozier
  • Producers: Stuart Millar
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jun 2003
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009PAY5
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,201 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The Young Stranger was one of the best teen movies that followed on from the success of Rebel Without a Cause. Starring James MacArthur The Young Stranger is released for the first time ever on DVD. A very young MacArthur excels as troubled teen Hal Ditmar. Ditmar is the son of a wealthy movie producer (James Daly) and his wife (Kim Hunter). One evening, an argument at a theatre between Hal and the theatre manager turns into a fight, and no one, not even his father, believes his actions were justified. Its up to his mother to try and bridge the gap between father and son, and help them to understand each other.


A story of teenage tearing-away in 1950s America, The Young Stranger fails to make a serious, gripping narrative of the events that follow the somewhat innocuous pivotal moment when 16-year-old Harold "Hal" Ditmar (James MacArthur) punches a cinema manager. Adapted from a TV play and released two years after the benchmark for delinquency movies, Rebel Without a Cause, it has none of that film's raw urgency, seeming staid and inconsequential in comparison.

The primary problem is that Hal makes an unconvincing hoodlum. His misdemeanour is less an act of rebellion than a brief misunderstanding. Far from articulating the angst of a generation, his angry tirades against his parents (Kim Hunter and James Daly) and the police set him apart from his peers and feel more like the self-pitying whines of a privileged individual. This sensation is further exacerbated by the fact that all of his problems are swiftly resolved in an all-too-neat ending. Still, The Young Stranger is an interesting period piece, not least for an amusingly tame car chase from first-time feature director John Frankenheimer. --Paul Philpott

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Pestalozzi on 4 Oct 2010
Format: DVD
This movie is a historical document about upper middle class child parent relationships. But is this relationship so very different today? The Young Stranger is the first non TV production directed by John Frankenheimer and a quiet companion to fares like "Rebels without a Cause". It is theatrical in nature and surprisingly has quite a few funny scenes. My favorite is the mother pushing her son's jalopy into motion with the big family car in a busy street. I can just imagine a theatre audience in my country at the time the movie was made, when middle class parents did not own cars, let alone their children, gaping at the hilarious and opulently staged scene. Another moment that impressed me was at the beginning, when the father asks his son to fix his cuff-links. It seems to be a routine between the two otherweise rather distant persons, probably established when the son was very little. In its intimacy, it shows that there is love and tenderness in the otherwise difficult relationship.The acting is very good, I was particularly taken by Kim Hunter who played the mother. Her worry about the possible disintegration of the family is palpable through her behavior and facial expressions alone. With this rather disjointed comment I want to say that The Young Stranger kept me interested throughout and convinced me on the artistic level, too.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey on 28 Sep 2005
Format: DVD
One of the earlier John Frankenheimer efforts that is not without its merits as a film adaptation of the teleplay "Deal a Blow". For the only stand-out supporting role
that lingers in the mind, director Frankenheimer cast veteran character actor Whit Bissell, who had essayed the same role in the television version. One can see why. The technical sureness in his portrayal of an officious, haughty theater manager steals the thunder right out from under the domestic, and somewhat dated and quotidian, "sturm and drang" teenage turmoil preoccupying a young James MacArthur and his parents, James Daly and Kim Hunter. Frankenheimer was to cast Mr. Bissell a number of times in later years and one can only imagine that when it came time to do "The Young Stranger" as a film, the director felt no other actor could match Mr. Bissell's skill in the same role in the earlier television version. One can also only imagine that Mr. Bissell's scene-stealing, complex, and actually sly incarnation of the character, one that is subversively programmatic without really being so, was on Frankenheimer's mind when he cast him almost a decade later as the duplicitous Senator Prentice in Seven Days in May. A wonderfully unlikable performance, as skillfully deceptive, resonant and memorable in its own way as the dramaturgy and the other performances here may seem somewhat unmemorable and dated in their own way.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nice Family Drama 11 Mar 2011
By Anony Mous - Published on
Format: VHS Tape
This is a nice family drama that explores a son's conflicted relationship with his father. It shows the sad consequences that result when father's spend much time trying to become rich and famous and calously neglect to care for and love their sons.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent sensitive coming of age drama 31 Oct 2012
By buster - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I found this film to be a gem. I was a teenager in the 1950's and this film was so painfully true. Far better than Rebel Without a Cause. I was also tremendously impressed with James MacArthur. I only knew him from his excellent Disney films.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Pleasant JD Fare 5 May 2012
By V. Risoli - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
1957's "The Young Stranger" was the debut of teen idol James MacArthur and introduced him in fare that could have starred Sal Mineo if there weren't room for someone else to take the gauntlet. MacArthur would later be featured in Disney fare so he did well in his debut. Like Mineo's "Dino," "The Young Stranger" written by Robert Dozier was supposedly based on a play also. Also in the cast are James Daley as the father and Kim Hunter as the mother with Whit Bissell, James Gregory and a young Jack Mullaney as an already established juvenile delinquent, something the plot seems to want to peg the young stranger as having as his potential. It was a rather pleasant experience and also featured the debut of director John Frankenheimer ("The Manchurian Candidate," "Grand Prix" and "The Gypsy Moths.") Thank you, Warner Archive, once again for the great job bringing this rare entertainment to home screens. 16 x 9 in b&w.
young teen misbehaves 3 Nov 2014
By tito shaw - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
absolutely the most ridiculous story ever put on film. a lie from start to finish: atrocious concept and poor execution. it's as if the makers of this film had never heard of "the dead-end kids" or "rebel without a cause" to fully understand the term delinquency. young james macarthur is a good kid who's treated as a rebellious delinquent and self-centered oaf none of which applies to his character. he simply puts his feet on the seat in front of him at the local movie house.the manager's reaction is grossly exaggerated. to summon the police for such an innocuous action is even for a 1950s teen movie a bit of a stretch to buy him as a delinquent.what a waste of talent, not to mention celluloid. the boy has supportive parents and comes from a solid middle-class community. there is no hoodlum here. feet on a seat at a movie theater and jail beckons. really. i wonder what those film-makers would do with today's wired-generation with the lights-on in the dark at the cinema? Electrocute them?
Four Stars 5 Dec 2014
By dingo - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A very early look at the lack of communication between teenagers and adults. Well done.
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