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The Young Stranger (1957)

Approved | | Drama | 1 February 1957 (USA)
When a 16-year-old, neglected by his movie producer father, gets in trouble, his father doesn't believe his claim of self-defense.


John Frankenheimer


Robert Dozier
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
James MacArthur ... Hal Ditmar
Kim Hunter ... Helen Ditmar
James Daly ... Tom Ditmar
James Gregory ... Police Sgt. Shipley
Whit Bissell ... Grubbs
Jeffrey Silver Jeffrey Silver ... Jerry Doyle (as Jeff Silver)
Jack Mullaney ... Confused Boy
Tom Pittman Tom Pittman ... Lynn Spears
Charles Davis Charles Davis ... Detective
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gary Vinson ... Boy in Courtroom (scenes deleted)
Learn more

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Sixteen year old high school student Hal Ditmar is the son of wealthy Tom and Helen Ditmar of Beverly Hills, Tom a famous movie producer. Although Tom is there in certain respects in Hal's life, such as being a physical presence at the family dinner table and providing Hal the creature comforts, he is not there emotionally for him in his focus on work. In his alienation, Hal displays his rebellion in certain ways, he acting out especially being belligerent toward strangers where the consequences would be minor and short lived. Hal, however, is truthful. Hal's rude behavior is the impetus for a minor altercation which, with actions on all sides, escalates to a point where he is charged with assault. Although Hal eventually admits his initial action may have started everything, he contends that the assault was all in self defense. With the purported victim, Grubbs, standing by the charge, Sgt. Shipley, the police detective in charge of the police's juvenile division believes Hal is just... Written by Huggo

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Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Film debut of James MacArthur. See more »


After Harold gets up to leave after asking his father to borrow the car, the shadow of the boom mic can be seen moving in and out of frame in the upper left hand corner of the screen. See more »


[first lines]
[at school, Hal and Jerry are walking toward Hal's car]
Hal Ditmar: [to two female students walking together] Wanna ride?
Female Student: [looking at Hal's jalopy as the girls walk away] In that?
See more »

Crazy Credits

opening title card "James MacArthur as The Young Stranger" See more »


References Dragnet (1951) See more »

User Reviews

The Young Stranger- Witnesses Anyone? **1/2
16 December 2006 | by edwagreenSee all my reviews

A teenage James MacArthur stars in this film dealing with the age old theme of listen to your children as well as try to believe them.

From an affluent Beverly Hill home, MacArthur finds himself being harassed in a movie theater after a patron complained about his putting his legs on a chair. The problem is that there were plenty of people saw the harassment by the manager of the theater but no one was asked to say anything. This is a definite problem in the screen writing.

I had actually forgotten that James Daly was an actor. I remember him in television commercials. As his wife, Kim Hunter looks like she is annoyed with the whole plot. We suddenly find out that she has been contemplating leaving Daly for 5 years. What's stopping you lady, your life of luxury?

While John Frankenheimer always dealt with social problems, this one is cliché ridden.

Acting kudos goes to James Gregory as a hard-nosed police officer who adds to the problem by giving MacArthur a bad time. I think this picture was a cheap stunt to continue the theme of "Rebel Without A Cause." That Sal Mineo masterpiece also deals with wayward youth and a loss of interaction between parent and child. "Young Stranger" is adequate but certainly not in the league of "Rebel."

Whit Bissell is effective as the theater owner who is fed up with the behavior of all teenage movie-goers and wants to use MacArthur as an example. Usually a cowardly co-star in grade B films of the 1950s, Bissell shows his adeptness of really being a weakling.

With regard to Gregory, Frankenheimer would get a brilliant performance out of him in 1962's "The Manchurian Candidate." Remember him as the moronic senator married to Angela Lansbury?

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Release Date:

1 February 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deal a Blow See more »


Box Office


$350,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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