TEENAGE WOLFPACK some years ago, while revelling in a wonderful Something Weird compilation that collected, I swear, at least a full hour of trailers for films I'd never heard of, mostly imported Euro JD and crime pictures. The sheer onslaught of this unknown terrain became positively delirious, especially when the trailer for this early Horst Bucholz film introduced the future MAGNIFICENT SEVEN star as "Henry Bookholt"! But as this DVD proves, this really happened once upon a time, right here in our own backyard. The film (whose original title translates as "The Hooligans") appears to have been at least partly acted in English, at least in those scenes featuring Bucholz and Christian Doermer (who plays his brother) and was dubbed or post-synchronized into English at Film Sync, Inc. (a New York-based precursor of Titra - Peter Fernandez dubs the voice of the young barman, Klaus) and then distributed in 1957 by Distributors Corporation of America (DCA), the same outfit that issued a sexed-up version of Freda and Bava's I vampiri as THE DEVIL'S COMMANDMENT. Though a main titles card introduces the film as a true story set in Germany, DCA took great pains to disguise its origins, apparently concerned that anti-German biases were still running strong a full decade after the war's end.
Bucholz plays Freddy Borchert, a charismatic but tough teenager surviving on the streets of West Berlin after being thrown out of his home by his overly strict father (Paul Wagner). His brother John (Doermer, "Jan" in the original) is still living at home and has been forbidden to associate with his older brother, whom he admires - as do all the other local teens and kids. However, against the wishes of their mother, John informs Freddy of the family's terrible money troubles, which pressures the ambivalent teen -- responsible enough to hold down a job at a filling station that requires him to be courteous, but arrogant enough to indulge in pickpocketing and other forms of thievery -- into planning a bank truck heist. When things do not go entirely as planned, Freddy loses face among his followers with disastrous results.
According to the IMDb, there is a 10-minute difference between the German and US running times, and Amazon.de sells the original version in a few different DVD configurations, including a deluxe two-disc set. I can see my fascination and curiosity leading me down a costly path.
Viewed on Alpha Video DVD, but also available as a free streaming download here.