Delinquent Escort Child aka "You Can't Tell Me Anything!"
This week for Propaganda month I watched a few trashy sex "dramas", starting with the JD Classic "Delinquent Daughters". This being one of my personal favorite sub-genre's of exploitation I was excited to see this 1944 low budget pooper. It starts out with a bunch of cops investigating the suicide of a local teenage girl at her high school, there's a "bad girl" (there always has to be one) named Sally (played by Teala Loring, a pretty Rita Hayworth-ish actress who like so many others was doomed to play bit roles in movies like this and "Return of the Ape Man", she was also uncredited as a telephone operator in "Double Indemnity") who convinces her girl friend's to act "casual" by actually seeming overly guilty for some reason. As it turns out, the last place the girl was seen was the local teen hang out, which is really a cover for all kinds of illegal activities, run by a typical movie jerk/villain type named Nick Gordon (played by Jon Dawson who was also in...nothing worth mentioning) who made a career out of getting teenagers to carry out his various crimes. The movie started out pretty interesting, they're hangout spot was neat and I love seeing teenagers in the past, or at least Hollywood's perception of teenagers. The story starts to lose you somewhere around the middle when there's about 20 minutes of exposition filmed outside with literally NO LIGHTING, you're looking at blackness and listening to pointless dialogue. After that you get to see the local judge reprimand all of the teenager's parents for not taking responsibility for their kids. The highlight of the film is when our female protagonist June (who's quite boring unmemorable as a character and an actress) comes home late to find her comically angry/abusive father waiting up for her "what a nice daughter you've turned out to be!" *slaps her in the face* "but daddy let me explain!" "you can't explain", "but daddy let me tell you" "you can't tell me anything" HA! The classic words of a shitty parent in a 1940's juvenile delinquency film. Another interesting piece of trivia is that Teala Loring recently (within the past few years) died in a car accident, which her character did in the movie, OOPS...gave away the ending. Who cares?
The second bill on the triple feature is the long forgotten "Escort Girl". The story of a woman trying to hide the fact that she runs an escort service from her bratty, ungrateful daughter who just happens to be engaged to the undercover lawyer who's investigating the underground bureau. This movie is fairly decent despite it's only big flaw, that being how terribly choppy it is. Not sure if it was a damaged print or if it was cut for time, but the film cuts scenes sometimes right in the middle of crucial dialogue. It can be very frustrating as I was actually interested in the plot! The highlight of the movie is the pointless strip tease in the middle of the film, totally caught me off guard! Seeing the hookers have girl talk in their dressing room seemed more cute than sleazy, but of course, they're actresses, not real prostitutes. I wasn't satisfied with the ending, and thought it was very shitty that the daughter was so insensitive to her hard working mother's situation, but whatever. It's just a movie, a pretty bad one too. With propaganda such as this, good and bad are in as high a contrast as the resolution of the shitty print.
The final film in the triple feature was the sleaziest and most enjoyable. "Child Bride" from 1938 starring... who cares? What makes exploitation movies of this caliber so much fun is that we can usually relate in some way. Maybe not to the later exploitation films of the 70's where actors like Rudy Ray Moore takes on three rednecks then tumbles from a cliff buck naked. These early propaganda movies usually dealing with marijuana, alcohol, sex, teenage rebellion. These things are fairly typical in movies and our own experiences in general, making these films laughable. The thought of applying them to your own life is even more laughable. Child Bride stands apart from this. Both offensive, tacky and bizarre, it's hard to believe there was a time that marrying children was acceptable. Of course it was never women marrying boys, just creepy old honkies lusting after 10, 11, 12 year old girls. The creep in this movie is especially villainous, he kills the girl's father and blackmail's the mother (threatening to frame her for the murder) so he can have her nubile daughter for keeps. Had the movie not been so over the top, it may have actually disturbed me. Not to be so naive as to think this kind of thing didn't go on (well into the 50's and 60's even *ahem* Jerry Lee Lewis), but thinking of it in terms as a serious social issue is what's really disturbing. Which made it all the more entertaining! I give it my utmost recommendation, if you're into that sort of thing. "That sort of thing" being creepy, tasteless, out-dated garbage!