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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 partially 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: the first boy, named Jimmy, was supposedly playing a game of ball and didn't feel like walking home, so he decided to "thumb" a ride. A few moments later, a car pulls up and Jimmy enters the strangers car. Jimmy and the stranger start a conversation while on the way to Jimmy's house. They arrive at his house and Jimmy gets out of the stranger's car. The following day, the stranger was in his car waiting for him. Jimmy noticed that it was the same car and decided to ride once again. Instead of going straight to Jimmy's house, "They went to a Drive-in and the stranger greeted him to a coke." The scene after shows ducks in a pond, and then switiches to Jimmy and the stranger fishing together on a dock. Jimmy and the stranger (Ralph) reveal their names when they pull out their lunch. Jimmy then eats a sandwich, while Ralph pulls out an album of "porongraphic pictures." Later, Jimmy is taken to a hotel with Ralph, 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 seen playing a game of basketball with a group of friends while ignoring a man watching them. The group decides to leave, but Mike decides stay and practice. The man then joins Mike, which is better than playing alone, according to Mike. Mike then decides to leave, and the stranger offered him a ride home. Mike accepts the offer, and enters the vehicle. Mike is supposedly killed that night, and having "traded his life for a newspaper headline".
A third boy, Denny, is tricked into entering a man's car while him and his friend were sorting out newspapers. The car leaves, and the friend writes down the licence plate number. Denny's friend is later delivering papers and talks to Denny's mother, who is seen watering her lawn. Denny's mother decides to go inside and call the police. Right after Denny's mother called the police, the car is quickly spotted and the stranger is arrested.
A fourth boy, Bobby, who was in a beachside restroom where he and his friends were changing. Bobby's friends decided to go back home elsewhere, while Bobby decides to take a "shortcut" under a pier. As Bobby is walking to the shortcut, he noticed that a man, who was seen at the restrooms, was following him. Bobby then waves to his friends, and runs from the shortcut.
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 ($7932.07 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]
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-26. Retrieved 2014-12-26.
- "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.
|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.