**½/**** Image B+ Sound B Extras C+
starring Glenn Ford, Anne Francis, Louis Calhern, Margaret Hayes
screenplay by Richard Brooks, based on the novel by Evan Hunter
directed by Richard Brooks
by Alex Jackson There are a few scenes in Richard Brooks's Blackboard Jungle that hold up, legitimately, as a thoughtful and fruitfully provocative investigation of the "inspirational teacher" genre. And when the film isn't working, it's often valuable as a time capsule of the 1950s and can be appreciated in a detached, archaeological way. But there are also times when you just can't help but condescend to it, and I'd hate for Blackboard Jungle to become a camp object. Blackboard Jungle may not be worthy of praise simply for dealing with issues of race and class, but the fact remains that some fifty years later, its subject matter continues to touch a raw nerve. By treating it ironically and laughing at it, we're absolved of the responsibility to fully engage with the issues it raises.