The Jungle (1969)

I really enjoyed watching this 6o’s documentary on a street gang. Well photographed and edited.

A great time capsule,  great recording of the fashions young men wore and the buildings and cars of the era.


This stretches the definition of “documentary.”  The camera is RIGHT IN THEIR FACES. They knew they were being filmed.

The fights are obviously the boys playing for the camera.

And the shootings, at 16.50. Puh LEASE…. SOOOOO obviously staged. Especially the gang frozen in place and staring as the camera moves across them.. No one poses for the camera in the middle of a crime scene. And no cameraman can get shots THAT good in the middle of a shoot out.

and…. now that I think about it, the boys clearly got especially dressed up and well groomed when they knew they’d be filmed.

They clearly dressed sharp and got their hair groomed especially well when they knew they were being filmed.  I doubt they dressed up that well all the time.  So sharply dressed to get into a street fight? I am sure the fights were staged, and the shootings seem SO fake and staged.


Not that they weren’t re enacting things they HADN’T already done….. I’m sure they DID get into fights…


Theres not much about this film on the web.

Wikipedia says it was produced by a Temple University film teacher ( Harold Haskins). Presumably this was self produced by him, shot earlier than 1967 ( youtube commenters noted that the boys are wearing fashions and hairstyles from the early to mid 60s, not the late sixties.

Youtube says it was made in 1969, but wikipedia says it was made in 1967. Lets assume it was shot in the mid 60s, finished in the late sixties.


I’d love to hear THIS story:

“Schwartz shared the story of the mighty rise and devastating fall of the gang’s film company as they took the film world by storm for a brief, shining moment before a shocking murder, in-fighting, and drugs dissolved the union. ”




Someone on YouTube said:


When I was a boy in the early to mid 70s mainstream blacks were never proud to be associated with the street gangs; they were looked upon with pity at best and at worst, they were despised. Now, ironically, they are deified by the mainstream as representing “pure blackness.” Strange”

I replied:

I liked your response and was interested in what you said. As a white man who loves both filmmaking and Black people…. I’ve never understood the glorification of “gangsta” culture that started in the 90s. Most Italians I know get frustrated that ( it seems like) every Italian in movies and TV is some kind of gangster. And many white people dont get that….if the N word is so horrible for us to say why are so many Black folks calling THEMSELVES that?!?!? ( I think I get, its a black peoples word NOW and they’ve reversed it… when black folks say it they mean ” friend”). But so many rappers promoting the gangsta lifestyle, cash, jewelry fancy cars. I see young white men wearing “prison fashion” it baffles me. If a white guy dressed up in “sambo” make up he’d get arrested for inciting a riot. In the later 80s Black leaders were praising the increasing number of TV shows showing healthy successful Black families. There is a conspiracy theory that a bunch of wealthy white media people wanted to invest in private prisons, so they promoted “gangsta” values in the media to keep their prisons full. Sounds like tin foil hat UFO nuttiness….. but maybe not.


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