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|Produced by||Sid Davis|
|Distributed by||Sidney Davis Productions|
Boys Beware is a drama short social guidance film released through Sid Davis Productions. It deals with a perceived danger to young boys from predatory homosexuals. The film was released in 1961 and, under the copyright laws in the United States at the time of its release, has lapsed into the public domain and is available from the Rick Prelinger archives.
The film, shot entirely in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood, California, and produced with the cooperation of the city's police department and the Inglewood Unified School District, is narrated by a police detective on his way to a school meeting to discuss the issue of sexual predators who attempt to lure young adolescent males.
Aside from the film's early 1960s-culturally influenced conclusion that homosexual men are inherently dangerous to young boys, the film has been noted for its unusual perception of police procedure: one boy, named Jimmy, is taken to a hotel, presumably to be molested, and later reports the crime. The perpetrator is arrested; the victim is put on probation. This could be seen as an instance of victim blaming. Another incautious, unsuspecting boy, Mike, is killed one night, having "traded his life for a newspaper headline". A third boy, Denny, is tricked into entering a man's car. The man is arrested after the boy's friend, Jerry, marks down the car's registration plate and subsequently reports it to police. A fourth boy, Bobby, has a narrow escape, having realized he was being tailed by a man (played by Davis himself) who was in the beachside changing room where he and his young friends had been earlier.
The film equates homosexuals with child molesters and pedophiles, repeatedly describing homosexuality as a mental illness. True to the stereotypes of its time, the gay men in the film have mustaches, sunglasses and/or bow ties.
The film has other odd moments, probably the result of its $1,000 budget ($7918.71 when adjusted for inflation)—a minuscule sum for a short film, even in 1961. Most notably, in the third scenario, the stranger is seen driving the same car (a 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne) as the detective.
Davis was friendly with the police in Southern California and would accept their suggestions of topics to make films about, allowing them to guide the films' message and development.
Playwright Max Sparber's play The Older Gentleman set in rural Nebraska in the early 1960s, includes a scene in which college students are shown Boys Beware in class.
In 2015, a Missouri high school teacher at Raymore-Peculiar High School was suspended after showing Boys Beware to his students. He stated that he wanted to show what attitudes towards gay people were like in previous eras.
Colorized version (1961)
1973 remake, Boys Aware
- THE TEENAGE TERROR IN THE SCHOOLS - J Garrison - American Educational History Journal Volume 36, 2009]
- "BOYS BEWARE BEWARE". NCJRS Abstracts Database.
- Hensley, Nicole. "Retiring Missouri teacher suspended after showing 1959 anti-gay ‘Boys Beware’ video to class".
- Fox, Margalit. "Sid Davis, 90, a Filmmaker of Cautionary Tales for Youth, Dies". The New York Times. November 9, 2006. Retrieved on February 27, 2013.
- Ferruzza, Charles. "Boys Beware, the old 'guidance film' that got a Ray-Pec teacher suspended, still hilarious after all these years ." The Pitch. Tuesday May 5, 2015. Retrieved on March 7, 2016.
- Hall, Chris. "The Gays Will Kill You! A Look Back on Creepy Propaganda Film Boys Beware" (Archive). San Francisco Weekly. Thursday June 21, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Boys Beware.|
- Boys Beware at the Internet Movie Database
- Boys Beware is available for free download at the Internet Archive - Original
- Boys Beware is available for free download at the Internet Archive - Colorized
- Boys Beware is available for free download at the Internet Archive - Remake
- "Boys beware." Sundance Channel. June 11, 2009.