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High School Confidential! (aka Young Hellions) (1958)

Russ Tamblyn , Jan Sterling , Jack Arnold  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Price: $49.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Russ Tamblyn, Jan Sterling, John Drew Barrymore, Mamie Van Doren, Diane Jergens
  • Directors: Jack Arnold
  • Writers: Lewis Meltzer, Robert Blees
  • Producers: Albert Zugsmith
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC, Widescreen, Closed-captioned, Dolby
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Republic Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: June 15, 2004
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002235LM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "High School Confidential! (aka Young Hellions)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Russ Tamblyn, John Drew Barrymore, Mamie Van Doren, Jerry Lee Lewis. This drama about an undercover narcotics agent posing as a high school hipster has become a '50s classic. 1958/b&w/85 min/NR/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGH SCHOOL HOP (HEADS).... June 15, 2004
Drugs infiltrate a small town high school and swaggering young "stud" Tony Baker (Russ Tamblyn) makes the scene as a new student unsubtly "grazing for grass". He encounters a sympathetic teacher (Jan Sterling), "pretty kitten" Joan Staples (Diane Jergens), her pusher boyfriend with a hillbilly accent (John Drew Barrymore) and assorted other "teens" including Michael Landon as well as the infamous "Mr.A" (Jackie Coogan). These characters swirl around a delirious plot involving "weed heads" and busting a narcotics ring. There's a drag race, beat slang, switchblades, a serious lecture on the danger of "marijuana addiction", racy dialogue and hilarity to spare. And speaking of busts, there's Mamie Van Doren as Tony's "guardian aunt" with more than a healthy yen for the skinny guy. She parades around in several sexy outfits and actually delivers a funny performance. She apparently wisely knew this was anything but serious material. When you've got Jerry Lee Lewis opening the film on the back of a truck singing "High School Hop" how can you go wrong? "High School Confidential" is a deliciously trashy JD exploitation flick that makes an OK transition to DVD. It's not the best print but it's in good shape and very watchable. I'm very happy to have it. Bare Bones and all. Good deal, man.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You're draggin' your rear axle in waltz time" March 8, 2006
By Charlie
I LOVE High School Confidential. I find it to be campy, yet very well made. I think the acting is good, the action scenes are exciting and I was genuinely surprised by the plot twist. And the dialog, dripping with 1950's hep-talk, is the most daddio!

Unfortunately this dvd is very bare bones, without even the theatrical trailer which was included on the laserdisc edition. But on the plus side it's in widescreen (as a previous reviewer noted, the box incorrectly indicates that it's full screen.)

When I think of Russ Tamblyn, I don't think of West Side Story, I think of High School Confidential. (I also think of Dracula vs. Frankenstein, but that's another story.)
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Surfink
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
High School Confidential is one of the quintessential 1950s JD exploitation movies, produced by veteran sleazemeister Albert Zugsmith (Touch of Evil, Girls Town, Confessions of an Opium Eater, etc.), directed by Universal monster expert Jack Arnold (in between The Incredible Shrinking Man and Monster on the Campus), and featuring a handful of Zugsmith's usual `stock company' players among the typically eclectic cast that includes Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story, Satan's Sadists, Twin Peaks), Mamie Van Doren and then-hubby band leader Ray Anthony, John Drew Barrymore (John's son and Drew's dad), Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester, Chaplin's The Kid), William Wellman Jr. and Charlie Chaplin Jr., Michael Landon (hot off of Teenage Werewolf), Lyle Talbot, Mel Welles, Mary Wickes, and custom hot rod designer Norman "Woo Woo" Grabowski. (It's a mystery how Zugsmith, whose entire career was basically a slow descent into the cinematic gutter, persuaded the usually staid MGM studios to underwrite his muckraking scandal pictures.) Jerry Lee Lewis belts the title tune from a flatbed truck over the opening credits, then we're introduced to archetypal smart-mouthed, arrogant punk Tony Baker (Tamblyn), already maneuvering to becoming "top stud" of the local gang, the Wheelers and Dealers, on his first day at high school. New in town, he's living with his inappropriately affectionate "aunt" Gwen (Mamie Van Doren), who's constantly bothering him for `attention'. Tony trades some great "hep-talk" with J.I. (Barrymore), leader of the W&D, then flashes a huge wad of bills and sparks a reefer in the principal's office. Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For those so inclined, a masterwork. March 4, 2002
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
... let me tell you, this is the one. High School Confidential has it all, everything you're seeking in disreputable youth-gone-wild 50's entertainment. This is juvenile delinquent movie Ground Zero, covering all but one of the categories that make this brand of escapism what it is:
1. Cars/racing;
2. Gangs/crime rings/rumbles;
3. A high school setting;
4. Rock 'n' roll;
5. Parties (pool, beach, dance, etc.);
6. "Controlled substances;
7. Leather jackets, poodle skirts, et al;
8. Dysfunctional families;
9. Outmoded acting;
10. Ridiculous dialogue;
11. Over-the-top histrionics (see #9);
12. "Messages" many will find dated;
13. Mamie Van Doren.
It lacks only a scene in a malt shop to fill out the Eisenhower-era roster. I am willing to overlook that due to the unbelievable cast. Mamie is just one of the draws, if you can believe it. See also: Russ Tamblyn; John Drew Barrymore; Jerry Lee Lewis (playing piano on a pickup truck!); Charles Chaplin, Jr.; William Wellman, Jr.; Michael Landon; and Jackie Coogan as the Drug Kingpin! Note I never said it was a *good* cast, merely an unbelievable one. And it's directed by Jack (Creature From the Black Lagoon) Arnold! Huzzah!!
MST3K skewered their share of these kind of films; perhaps with this one, like Plan 9, they saw too great a challenge in improving upon it, and passed it by. (Although it would've been great fodder, and interesting to see what they could've come up with.)
So... if you want to bask (or perhaps wallow) in all that is JD, pick this up. It will make you smile; it will also likely make you wince with discomfort. If you want a good movie, one that will make you think, get East of Eden.
P.S. The tape is not that great, but what in the sockhop do you expect?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Published 1 month ago by ronald bruckner
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Song, Terrible Movie
"High School Confidential!" (1958) starts off with a bang as Jerry Lee Lewis belts out the classic title song during the opening credits. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Scott T. Rivers
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie Review
I had seen it many years ago when it first came out and had lately had a desire to view it again, this time in the comfort of my home. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lee Foley
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 1950's Juvenile Delinquent Drama
What a blast of a film, It's High School Confidential ! Lots of fun characters, and my favorite is the sexy Aunt Gwen played by the Fabulous Mamie Van Doren. Read more
Published 6 months ago by K. Nolting
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok movie
I heard about from a friend of many years ago and thought I waoud buy it to see what he was talking about.
Published 13 months ago by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Love This Trashy '50s Flick Daddy-O! :)
**Spoilers Ahead**!

I ordered the dvd and it came in record time. The film is obviously very old and the quality spotty in spots but not too bad. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mozart'sConstanze
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap sensationalism with some redeeming features
This film is pretty much what you'd expect from a 1950s "social consciousness" anti-drug film about teenagers, with wild youth getting "hooked" on marijuana despite law officers... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jon Corelis
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes, You Just Can't Tell
It ain't easy buying some DVDs through Amazon. Amazon "Product Details" say this DVD is "1.33:1" "Full Screen". It IS NOT. Read more
Published on September 27, 2011 by Hunter
4.0 out of 5 stars Beat Poetry Scene Worth the Price of Admission
Plenty has been said by other reviewers about this campy but nevertheless great flick, which is a cool way for youth of later generations to see what passed for hipsterism in the... Read more
Published on May 19, 2010 by Steven Annan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good old days
Good movie to share for historical perspective. Demonstrates that the times have not really changed much for teenagers. Drugs were available in high schools even in the 50's. Read more
Published on March 18, 2010 by Aukake Jaye
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