Halls of Anger

Halls of Anger is a 1970 American drama film directed by Paul Bogart, and starring Calvin Lockhart, Janet MacLachlan, Jeff Bridges and James A. Watson Jr.[2]

Halls of Anger
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Bogart
Produced byHerbert Hirschman
Walter Mirisch
Written byJohn Herman Shaner
Al Ramrus
StarringCalvin Lockhart
Janet MacLachlan
Jeff Bridges
Music byDave Grusin
CinematographyBurnett Guffey
Edited byBud Molin
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • April 29, 1970 (1970-04-29) (United States)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.6 million[1]


A predominantly black high school is integrated by white students and trouble follows.



The film was mostly filmed at Virgil Middle School in Los Angeles.[3]

The film draws some comparisons to a contemporary television program, Room 222: A new, black teacher joins a southern California high school; an attractive, sympathetic black female member of staff shows romantic interest; a militant black student is frequently involved in situations; issues of racism and integration are featured. The film and television show even share actors (Ta-Tanisha, Helen Kleeb, Rob Reiner). However, while Room 222 is a comedy-drama, much milder in tone, Halls of Anger is purposefully aggressive, using deliberately controversial language and some forceful violence to highlight the very real and dangerous potential of unresolved racial conflict.


Critical response

Roger Greenspun, the film critic for The New York Times, gave the film a mixed review, and wrote, "The picture initially portends sensationalism, with the racial scales reversed and the well-behaved white youngsters harassed and tormented by the black students. What steadies the whole thing is the excellent performance of Calvin Lockhart, as a sane, realistic Negro teacher who more or less holds together the teeming school and the picture itself...But the picture's urgent plea for racial sanity in the classroom is almost methodically blunted by the use of standard-seeming types. The few faculty whites are oafs or hard-heads. There is the pretty Negro teacher, nicely played by Janet MacLachlan, who supports and comforts Lockhart. As the fieriest black student and the spunkiest white newcomer, James A. Watson Jr. and Jeff Bridges do well in characterizations that rate more exploration."[4]

Film critic Monica Sullivan praised the acting of Jeff Bridges, if not the film, "The young Bridges stands out in the cast, because his focus on his role is like a laser beam. He pours 100% of his energy into making his character believable and it is. The making of Halls Of Anger might be a more riveting experience than the film itself."[5]

See also


  1. Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p. 192
  2. Halls of Anger at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. IMDb Locations on IMDb Database.
  4. Greenspun, Roger. The New York Times, film review, April 30, 1970. m Last accessed: March 8, 2010.
  5. Sullivan, Monica. Movie Magazine International, film review, October 16, 2002. Last accessed: March 8, 2010.
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