Director-scripter Richard Brooks, working from novel by Evan Hunter, has fashioned an angry picture that flares out in moral and physical rage at mental slovenliness, be it juvenile, mature, or in the pattern of society acceptance of things as they are because no one troubles to devise a better way.
The main issue is the juvenile bum who terrorizes schoolrooms and teachers.
The strong among the evil element, here represented by Vic Morrow, is already beyond any reform. The good, represented by Sidney Poitier, has had no stimulus to awaken his leadership abilities because he is a Negro. Glenn Ford, Morrow and Poitier are so real in their performances under the probing direction by Brooks that the picture alternatingly has the viewer pleading, indignant and frightened before the conclusion.
1955: Nominations: Best Screenplay, B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction, Editing