Because They're Young (1960)

Because They're Young Poster

Director Paul Wendkos' 1960 film adaptation of the controversial novel "Harrison High", about an idealistic young high-school teacher dealing with over-sexed and troubled teenagers, is notable for its casting of newcomer Dick Clark in the starring role. Others in the cast include Tuesday Weld, Michael Callan, Victoria Shaw, Roberta Shore, Warren Berlinger, Doug McClure, Linda Watkins, Rudy Bond, Philip Coolidge, Stephen Talbot, Kathryn Card, James Darren, Duane Eddy, The Rebels and Bess Flowers.

Film Overview
"Because They're Young" is a 1960 drama movie directed by Paul Wendkos. It includes popular singers and stars of that period including Dick Clark, Victoria Shaw, and Michael Callan. The story offers insight into the difficulties and dilemmas faced by the characters who are all linked to a high school setting. Set in an American scene, this film navigates the intricacies of teenage life at the junction of public opinions and scholastic commitments.

Main Plot
The main plot centers around Neil Hendry (Dick Clark), a brand-new high school instructor who brings a non-traditional approach to academic pedagogy, planning to relate with his students on a personal level. Hendry attempts to understand his trainees' lives outside the school, such as Eric (Michael Callan) whose struggling home life forces him into delinquency; Buddy (Bobby Rydell), who discovers escape in music; and Griff (James Darren), who succumbs to the defiant Wanda (Tuesday Weld).

Character Dynamics
The film brings to the fore various characteristics of human interaction. Hendry's relationship with Anne (Victoria Shaw), a fellow teacher who begins as his critic but later on turns into a love interest, adds an interesting romantic subplot to the film. Hendry's trainees sustain their battles with love, fraternity, academics, and individuation, all occurring on the frontier of their adult years.

Conflict and Resolution
The storyline also sees a prominent dispute including the conventional technique to academics, advocated by the senior faculty member, and Hendry's modern take on pedagogy. This clash culminates into a hostile circumstance, originating from a mistrust of Hendry's techniques by the school administration. Nevertheless, Hendry does not accept the pressures and continues with his radical methods to affect his trainees positively.

An incident including Griff and Wanda escalates even more tensions. Griff, misguided about the principal's objectives, believes his personal privacy was invaded. Outraged, he strongly lashes out at the principal, leading to his suspension. Eventually, however, Hendry's continued support and counseling aid Griff comprehend the circumstance, causing a positive turnaround in his life.

Music and Film success
The film plainly includes music of that time, with the protagonist Dick Clark being a popular host of the music program "American Bandstand". Music functions as a subplot and a mode of expression for the characters. The movie's title song "Because They're Young" performed by Duane Eddy got in the Billboard Hot 100 and added to the overall effect and popularity of the movie.

Regardless of its age, "Because They're Young" is still mentioned for its expedition of the adolescent experience adequately. Its representation of intrinsic struggles of high school life, accompanied by a romantic subplot, coupled with the human characteristics of teacher-student relationships, remains appropriate today. This film effectively records the spirit of adolescent life and the everlasting quest for relatability amidst the battle between tradition and modernity in a school setting.

Top Cast

  • Dick Clark (small)
    Dick Clark
    Neil Hendry
  • Michael Callan (small)
    Michael Callan
    Griff Rimer
  • Tuesday Weld (small)
    Tuesday Weld
    Anne Gregor
  • Victoria Shaw (small)
    Victoria Shaw
    Joanne Dietrich
  • Warren Berlinger (small)
    Warren Berlinger
    Buddy McCalla
  • Roberta Shore (small)
    Roberta Shore
    Richelle 'Ricky' Summers
  • Doug McClure (small)
    Doug McClure
    Jim Trent
  • Duane Eddy (small)
    Duane Eddy
  • James Darren (small)
    James Darren
  • Linda Watkins (small)
    Linda Watkins
    Frances McCalla
  • Chris Robinson (small)
    Chris Robinson