This independent effort, two years in the making, is the handiwork of, for the most part, film teacher Haig Manoogian and his students. These include Martin Scorsese who’s reponsible for both the script and the direction (with some ‘additional dialog’ credited to Betzi (Mrs Haig) Manoogian). In addition, Joseph Weill, a practising attorney who’s also a student, is listed as one of the producers.
The tale, apparently, is the inner struggle of a young Italian-American, J.R., torn between a Roman Catholic upbringing and the temptations of modern life. Unfortunately, he’s portrayed as a crude, carousing lout who seemingly never works but devotes most of his time to drinking and drifting or spending time with a ‘good’ girl (until he finds that she’s not the virgin he imagined. Zina Bethune, as the girl, is believable but Harvey Keitel, as the anti-hero, is alternatively boorish or bewildered.
Scorsese occasionally brings the film to life, as in a weekend drive by J.R. and two buddies to an upstate village where the camera shows up their ‘big city’ shallowness in comparison to the townspeople. Generally, however, his script and direction lack any dramatic value and give far too much exposure to sexual fantasies on the part of the boy.