Because They're Young
Because They're Young is a 1960 film from Columbia Pictures, starring Dick Clark as Neil Hendry, an American high school teacher who tries to make a difference in the lives of his students. The film co-starred Tuesday Weld, Michael Callan, Warren Berlinger, Roberta Shore, Doug McClure, and Victoria Shaw. It was directed by Paul Wendkos. The screenplay was based on Harrison High, a novel by John Farris.
|Because They're Young|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul Wendkos|
|Produced by||Jerry Bresler|
|Written by||James Gunn|
|Based on||Harrison High|
by John Farris
|Music by||John Williams|
|Cinematography||Wilfred M. Cline|
|Edited by||Chester W. Schaeffer|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Musicians Duane Eddy and James Darren had cameo roles in the movie, whose title song became the biggest hit record of Eddy's career. Though not appearing himself, Bobby Rydell's "Swingin' School" was featured prominently in the movie's soundtrack.
A crusading high school teacher tries to help his troubled students.
- Dick Clark - Neil Hendry
- Michael Callan - Griff Rimer
- Tuesday Weld - Ann Gregor
- Victoria Shaw - Joan Dietrich
- Roberta Shore - Ricky Summers
- Warren Berlinger - Buddy McCalla
- Doug McClure - Jim
- Linda Watkins - Frances McCalla
- Chris Robinson - Patcher
- Rudy Bond - Chris
- Wendell Holmes - Principal Donlan
- Philip Coolidge - Mr. Rimer
- Bart Patton - Kramer
- Stephen Talbot - Eric
- James Darren - Himself
- Shirley Mitchell - Mrs. Summers
- Duane Eddy and the Rebels - Themselves
The novel Harrison High was published in 1959 when John Farris, the author, was 22. He wrote it when 20 while a student at the University of Missouri; it was based on his high school experiences in Memphis, Tennessee. ("Harrison High" though was fictional.)
Film rights were bought by the Drexel Film Corporation in April 1959, who arranged to make the film through Columbia. Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand, signed to play the lead.
Jerry Bresler who had a multi-picture deal with Columbia, was assigned to produce and he hired James Gunn to write a script. Paul Wendkos signed to direct in June.
"Most pictures about teenagers are wrong," said Clark. "They are older people's concepts of how teenagers act... I doubt if there ever can be a truly honest portrayal in films. Not all girls are beautiful and all boys handsome, as they are in films... [But] the script is fairly true to life. Most teenagers are normal."
The cast included several young actors under contract to Columbia including Michael Callan. Warren Berlinger had just been in Blue Denim.
The campus and classroom scenes were shot at Hoover High School in Glendale, California; most of that school's buildings were later torn down and replaced with a more contemporary look in the mid-1960s to comply with California's building codes for schools.
Clark later wrote in his memoirs that making the film was "an extraordinary experience. Columbia really laid it on; they rented a house in Bel-Air owned by Mercedes McCambridge, provided a maid, a butler and a chauffeur, and gave me a hundred dollars a day in expenses." While in Los Angeles he presented a show, "A Salute to Dick Clark".
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