Look Out, Hooligans!

Youth corrupts and kills youth and innocent citizens as you stand idly by in 1950s Warsaw. Original title: Uwaga, chuligani!

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Quick-moving Hoffman short looks at “social problem” of hooliganism and stresses lack of “civic responsibility” in bringing these monsters to justice. Hooligans come in several types: kids who skip school, sell illicit goods and scalp movie tickets to buy booze (if you buy a ticket, you’re buying the booze—the films says); older, slick players who romance your daughters, befriend your hard-working sons to usurp their cash; lazy and rebellious rascals who cause inadvertent death with their reckless antics; and so on. If it wasn’t for touches of levity (introduced by Skórzewski, no doubt), the whole thing would be dumb, glum and [inadvertantly] laughable: a mother’s sad face superimposed on a police lineup of the hooligans who caused her son’s death; a bookish man hiding behind a newspaper rather than intervening when he sees a thug toss an attendant off a train. Someone should have tossed Hoffman off a train, but not before commending him for a good, aggressive use of jazz music.

The boy who cried, “Look Out, Hooligans!”

Jerzy Hoffman & Edward Skórzewski, 1955

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