SAL MINEO MOVIE REVIEW
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Originally a hit teleplay , Sal Mineo reprised his role of Dino Minetta for this 1957 black & white theatrical version. Dino is almost 17 years old, and just got out of a reform school, for participating in a murder at age 13. When he arrives at his family's modest apartment, he finds his mother left a note, explaining she and his father had to go to work, and couldn't welcome him home.
All the neighbourhood kids know of his crime, and make wise cracks.
Dino, is on the verge of "exploding", and his parole officer knows it, so he convinces a social worker, named, Sheridan (played by Brian Keith, of tv's "Family affair"), to try and help Dino, and keep him from going back to prison. But, Dino's not open for discussion! He wants nothing to do with Sheridan, or his parole officer's help.
At home, things are not getting better, as Dino's father is very abusive, and his mother doesn't try to understand. Only, his younger brother, Tony, looks at him with the respect Dino seeks. Only, Tony admires Dino's criminal ways, and talks him into helping a neighbourhood gang plan an armed-robbery.
Sal's performance here is very convincing. Creating a character who is hard
as nails on the surface, slowly revealing the scared, lost boy who lurks under all
the loneliness. In a key scene, where Dino breaks down in
Sheridan's office, Sal emotes so much gut wrenching emotion, in this scene, revealing he never got affection from his parents. And when he says the line, "How come nobody ever kissed me?", and breaks down in tears, you feel his pain. Riveting.
This film also pairs Mineo with actress, Susan Kohner. (This beautiful, talented, young actress would later again star with Sal, in the classic hit, "The Gene Krupa story").
interest, Shirley, she also provides Sal with his first onscreen kiss. As
the film approaches it's exciting climax, Dino has learned, he can be
loved, and you can see how his character finally feels hope. But after saying goodnight to Shirly, Dino goes to meet the gang for the planned robbery.
WIll Dino have the guts to stand up to the gang? Or will he decide to go through with the robbery, and go back to jail?
One of Sal Mineo's best performances, and a top notch cast, and production, make this movie a timeless classic.