Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Bad Boy (3 stars)
Last week, in celebration of Audie Murphy's birthday month, TCM aired a few of his movies, including their first-ever showing of Bad Boy, the 1949 film which featured Audie in his very first leading role. Starring alongside Audie were Lloyd Nolan, Jane Wyatt, and James Gleason. According to Robert Osborne, who always provides the viewer with a wealth of interesting information, the producer of this film insisted that Audie be cast in this role, otherwise he would not finance it.
Bad Boy is Audie's third movie, but it's the first one in which he has a starring role. He portrays Danny Lester, a violent and angry young man who has been running from the law since leaving home at age 13. Now 17, Danny is brought before the juvenile court on armed robbery and assault charges. The judge believes that Danny's hardened, unrepentant attitude warrants the severest punishment she can give him---the juvenile reformatory until adulthood, and then 20 years in the state prison.
However, Marshall Brown (Lloyd Nolan), of the Variety Clubs Boys' Ranch, who believes there are no hopeless cases, petitions the judge to release Danny into his custody. He feels sure that just as the Ranch has been successful at rehabilitating other young juvenile delinquents, it will do the same for Danny. Against her better judgment, the judge agrees to Mr. Brown's request, and Danny is sent to the Ranch, where things don't go quite as smoothly as Mr. Brown had hoped.
Bad Boy is a very solid 3-star movie to me. I have actually come to really like Audie Murphy. Not only does he deserve respect as a courageous American soldier, but his acting, to me, is very sound. No, he's not an Academy Award-winning actor, but I think each of his performances was quite solid. In this film, he's 25 years old, but I must say, he looks much younger. And when you realize that this film was made a full four years after the end of the war, you really begin to understand that when he received all his many military awards, he was hardly more than a boy. That fact alone causes me to respect him.
Anyhow, I hope y'all get a chance to view this film. It's definitely worth watching. I'm not sure if it is out on DVD; however, I do know that TCM will be airing it again in September. Happy viewing!!!