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"Delinquent Daughters" (1944)
"Gambling With Souls" (1936)
"Mad Youth" (1940)
"The Pace That Kills" (1935)
"The Road to Ruin" (1934)
"Sex Madness" (1938)
"The Terror of Tiny Town" (1938)
Delinquent Daughters (1944)-
the worst and corniest movies I've ever seen.
First of all, the movie is called "Delinquent Daughters", but it's not
just about girl delinquents; boys play a big part, too. The title
must have been the producers way of giving this sex appeal to horned-up
male moviegoers. There's a few moments of watchability, but for
the large part it's dismissible. Many propaganda/exploitation
movies from this time dealt with the evils of drugs, alcohol,
prostitution. I guess this movie deals with the evils
of...teenagers. That's about it.
A teenage girl's suicide prompts police and
reporters to investigate the circumstances of her death. No, it
wasn't a "cover up"; she really did commit suicide. We couldn't
be lucky enough to get a juicy mystery out of this movie.
Apparently, teenagers are evil if they sit around in
swanky nightclubs, with adult supervision, and do...nothing. This
directly causes young people to knock over candy stores, gas stations,
and friendly motorists.
The antagonists of this movie are nightclub owner
Nick Gordon and his woman Mimi. Mimi must be an evil floozy, because she
has a French accent and a wild temper. That's about as deep as
anything gets in this movie. Every actor presents a really
over-the-top characterization. Nick, for some reason, likes to
spend his time with young kids and get them in trouble. Ha,
ha! None of the young guys like Nick, but they follow him because
they're a bunch of dopes, making Nick the mastermind of a juvenile
crimewave that (Alert! Alert!) catches the attention of FBI chief J.
Edgar Hoover (according to a briefly flashed newspaper headline).
The "heroes" of this movie are teens June Thompson
(June Carlson) and Rocky Webster (Johnny Duncan) that look to be well
in their twenties along with the rest of the "high schoolers" in this
movie. Johnny Duncan (whom I've had the pleasure of e-mailing)
had quite a busy acting career, and might be best-known for playing
Robin in the 1949 serial, "Batman & Robin". Duncan is one of
the reasons to see this movie, for curiosity's sake if nothing
else. Mary Bovard, as total giggly idiot Betty Smith, is the
highlight of the cast. Extremely stupid, but Betty is the only
character in this movie with a pulse. She's in the movie quite a
bit in the first half, then we don't see her at all when the story
picks up. Fortunately, she doesn't get into the kind of deep
trouble the other kids do.
The "baddest kids" are Sally Higgins (Teala Loring)
and Jerry Sykes (Jimmy Zahner). These are the ones that actually
like to commit petty crimes, for whopping amounts of $2.38 or $13.00 a
hit. Wow! Who says it pays to stay in school? Sally
is the tough-talking one of the girls, even when there's nothing to
talk tough about, and Jerry envisions himself as a gangster worthy of
over-throwing Nick Gordon. Sally is so bad that she becomes the
floozy of Nick Gordon; Nick likes young girls. Jerry ends up
getting shot in a robbery that goes bad. He's in a coma, but
we're not told if he dies. Nick Gordon and Sally Higgins die in a
fantastic car crash during the climax of the film. All these kids
were friends that hung out together, but nobody seems affected by the
deaths of Sally or Jerry, especially since they're partying at the
newly revamped, sanitized nightclub for kids. And no one seems to
miss Betty Smith, Francine Van Pelt, or some of the other characters we
see at the beginning of the movie. Where did they go, anyway?
Johnny Duncan and Mary Bovard are two brightspots in
the movie. The third jewel is a funny catfight between Mimi and
Sally Higgins over the affections of too studly Nick Gordon. The
catfight ends with Nick knocking Mimi out and running away with
Sally. "That ought to hold her for awhile." This part is
just too entertaining.
If we take what this movie tells us for gospel,
teenagers are inherently evil creatures that CAN be reformed by silly
lectures from stuffy old men. Teenagers, themselves, feel like an
oppressed slave class and nobody knows what they feel like because
nobody else has ever been a teenager. Huh? Everything is
better if you work really hard for it and suffer. Teenagers can
only have fun within the guidelines of what adults think they can do
for fun. Most of all, it tells us why most people hate cheap
black-and-white movies from the 1940s.
June Carlson as June Thompson [Misunderstood girl hero of the movie and
Johnny Duncan as Rocky Webster [Misunderstood boy hero of the movie and
Jon Dawson as Nick Gordon [The nightclub owner/gangster leader]
Fifi D'Orsay as Mimi [Nick's woman]
Teala Loring as Sally Higgins [Tragic bad girl that loves crime and
advances from Jerry to Nick]
Jimmy Zahner as Jerry Sykes (credited as Jimmy Zaner) [Evil-to-the-core
bad boy that loves crime and wants to bump Nick from top spot, but
still takes orders from him]
Joe Devlin as Detective Hallahan [Cop that has nothing better to do
than spy on teenagers day and night, trying to solve all their problems]
Frank McGlynn, Sr. as Judge Craig (credited as Frank McGlynn) [We see
him in only one scene, but he must be close to God status because he
fixes almost all the kids with one lecture]
Warren Mills as Roy Ford [The idiot teen boy that's just slightly
smarter than Betty]
Mary Bovard as Betty Smith [The idiot teen girl that's put in the movie
for comic relief and nothing else, thank goodness]
John Christian as Mr. Thompson [June's abusive father]
Frank Stephens as Mr. Webster [Rocky's drunk father, possibly retarded?]
Floyd Criswell as Detective Joe Miller [Hallahan's partner, shown in
some scenes to prove to us that the town's police force consists of
more than just one cop]
Margia Dean as Francine Van Pelt [Teen girl, I don't know what she does
in this movie]
Director- Albert Herman
Writer- Arthur St. Claire
movie was released in American theaters on July 15, 1944.
movie was banned in Sweden. Apparently, the content must have
been too edgy.
(Producers Releasing Corporation) was the distributor for this film and
released it to theaters. This movie was, however, made by
American Productions, Inc.
original release of this movie, June Carlson, Fifi D'Orsay, and Teala
Loring got first, second, and third billing, respectively on posters
and lobby cards.
Loring is the sister of screen-legend Debra Paget.
Duncan was the second actor to play superhero Robin ("Batman &
- This film
is now in the public domain.
Souls (1936)- This is pretty decent, and presents one
of the more relevant moral messages in exploitation movies of the
"Golden Age". The message? Gambling is bad. That's
it. This movie tells the tale of a typical housewife who gambles
and ultimately ruins her life. To me, gambling is wrong, and I
always thought it was SUPPOSED to be illegal. For some reason or
another, everybody thinks it's okay to set up casinos everywhere.
Everyone that goes to a casino is throwing away their money, and it's
been allowed to continue since the 1990s. It used to be Las Vegas
and Reno were the only real "legal" gambling hotspots. Whatever
happened to that? "Gambling With Souls" is just as significant
today as it was when it was made. I think it's funny that no one
makes anti-gambling movies now.
As a movie, this was done pretty well for a poverty
row exploitation flick. The movie opens with a police raid, and
lots of women running around in their underwear. The police barge
into a room where a blonde woman is holding a gun over the body of
criminal kingpin Lucky Wilder. After being taken into custody,
the woman tells her story through flashback. The woman's name is
Mae Miller. She is the wife of Dr. Don Miller, an up-and-coming
physician. They live comfortably, but can't afford all the nice
things that they'd really like to have, that Don's working so hard to
earn. Mae is tricked by a woman named Molly Murdock into
attending illegal gambling functions. The naive housewife falls
into the same trap that has ruined so many women. At first, Mae
"wins" a lot of money, which is given to her as an incentive to keep
gambling. Once Mae is hooked, she develops a nasty gambling
addiction. When Mae can't pay her losses, she is forced into
prostitution to make up the difference.
After Lucky Wilder and his operation ruins Mae, and
causes the death of her sister Carolyn, Mae exacts revenge by killing
Wilder. Mae's husband finds out about everything that's happened,
and we are left to wonder what happens to Mae. Will she be
punished for killing the terrible Wilder, or will she be allowed to
return to her formerly happy life? We don't know.
I think this movie tells people a lot of things they
should know about the underworld of gambling and what goes on.
The same kind of stuff that happened back then is alive and well
today. As a movie lover, I didn't like the ending, because it's
not a happy ending. However, it is memorable, and it IS important
to stress that not everyone will get away with killing bad men, no
matter how much they deserve it. Worth watching.
Martha Chapin as Mae Miller
Wheeler Oakman as Lucky Wilder
Vera Steadman as Molly Murdock
Robert Frazer as Dr. Don Miller
Gay Sheridan as Carolyn
Bryant Washburn as Million Dollar Taylor
Edward Keane as Attorney [credited as Ed. Keane]
Gaston Glass as Officer
Director- Elmer Clifton
Writer- J.D. Kendis
- This movie was made by Jay-Dee-Kay Productions.
- This film was originally released in September,
- The dumpy restaurant where Carolyn goes slumming
is the same one shown in "Marihuana" (1936).
- The house that Mae and her husband live is also
seen in "Slaves in Bondage" (1937).
- The vanity set that Mae has in her bedroom
appears in "Tell Your Children" (1936). In that movie, it is also
owned by a character named Mae.
Youth (1940)- This is actually pretty good. I'm
surprised. Most exploitation movies of the 1930s and 40s were
made with a moral. There's no moral here. It's basically
sin shown for entertainment value. A divorced mother and her
teenage daughter live equally wild lifestyles, ultimately fighting over
the same man. They're both just terrible skeezers. Mother
Lucy is easily the most self-centered. Her advances toward paid
escort Count DeHoven are shot down in flames. Instead, the
sophisticated Count pursues and woos daughter Marian. The Count
reforms the wild young girl, then mysteriously leaves without telling
her why or for how long. Upon her mother's discovery of the juicy
affair, Marian leaves home to stay with a friend and her new
"husband". Instead, Marian finds herself trapped in a cathouse
where girls are tricked into coming and held against their will.
Count DeHoven comes to Marian's rescue, fights off her kidnappers, and
takes her away to get married. The Count reveals that he went
away to earn his U.S. citizenship and find a good, legitimate
job. The Count and Marian both change their ways and become
better people by the end of the film. However, we see Lucy up to
her old tricks, calling for yet another escort.
The title isn't bad, but it's not wholly
accurate. The older people are as wild, if not wilder, than the
teenagers. Lucy Morgan and all her compatriots are really shady. The kids mostly
like to dance and fool around, which is something kids of ANY
generation like to do, and it's all pretty harmless. The reissue
title, "Girls of the Underworld", is a lot better as it refers directly
to the two female leads and their illicit activities.
For the time, this movie was edgy. It's STILL
not a G-movie. However, the content is pretty clean.
There's no bad language or nudity, and violence is limited to fist
fights. But in 1940, the large majority of the film's topic
matter was questionable. Sex was definitely touched on. As
well as drunkenness, gambling, stripping, and prostitution.
Divorce was not a commonly touched theme for the time period.
Escort services are rarely referred to in Hollywood's "Golden
Age". As a matter of fact, this movie throws in every vice short
of drug abuse and turns it into a really entertaining little movie.
The jitterbug dancers are awesome! They really
have talent. It's too bad this movie was on the "shady" circuit,
because these guys and girls deserved a lot more respect. Betty
Atkinson, as Helen Johnson, is one incredible baton twirler! I've
never seen anyone work a baton with as much success as Betty Atkinson.
This is a fun movie to see, and it lets us know that
things weren't all "squeaky clean" back in 1940.
Mary Ainslee as Marian Morgan
Betty Compson as Lucy Morgan
Willy Castello as Count DeHoven
Betty Atkinson as Helen Johnson
Margaret Fealy as Helen's Grandmother
Donald Kerr as Taxi Driver
Monte Collins as Stewart the Singing Bridge Player [credited as Monty
Florence Dudley as The Madam [uncredited]
Hal Price as Escort Bureau Manager [uncredited]
Ethelreda Leopold as Blonde Secretary for Escort Service [uncredited]
Donald Reed as Club Emcee [uncredited]
Tommy Wonder as Harry
Lorelei Readoux as Beth
Noel Neill as Teenager [uncredited]
Jitterbugs- Ray Hirsch, Patty Lacey, Eugene Taylor, Aileen Morris,
Maxine Taylor, Pearl Tolson, Glen Dennison [uncredited].
- Girls of the Underworld [US; reissue title]
- This was the film debut of Noel Neill, who later
became one of the top pin-up girls of the WWII era, and is best-known
for being TVs Lois Lane in "The Adventures of Superman".
- To get past censors and to not be so
controversial, a lot of "roundabout" devices had to be used to get the
point across to the viewer. For instance, the words "sex" and
"intercourse" are never used.
- The whorehouse Marian goes to is not referred to
as anything. It is never called "whorehouse" or "cathouse" or
"brothel", nor are the girls called "whores" or "hookers" or
"prostitutes". The word "prostitution" is also not used.
There are many subtle methods used to get the point across.
- People get drunk in this movie, but nobody calls
it "drinking" or "being drunk" or "having a hangover".
- The Madam character is not called a "madam" by
anyone, although we know she's the one in charge of the girls.
- The orchestra and all acts in this movie are
courtesy of the La Golondrina Cafe in Los Angeles, California.
- This is the only known film/TV credit for Lorelei
- Most of the "young kids" of the cast were largely
dancers by trade, not actors. Tommy Wonder had a good dancing
career in Hollywood from 1937-1952 (roughly).
- Donald Kerr was a big character actor, and he
played a LOT of Taxi Drivers.
- Mary Ainslee is best known for her appearances in
the "Three Stooges" comedy shorts (1941-1952).
That Kills (1935)- This
is a stupid movie with a story that goes nowhere and guess what:
It's a remake of the movie of the same name from 1928! This movie
does have a handful of things in it, though, that makes it relevant for
us today. First of all, this movie points out that cocaine abuse
was a problem even in 1935 and, because of the earlier movie, also as
far back as 1928. And, if they made a movie about cocaine in
1928, it had to be a widespread problem long before then. So many
people think cocaine was something that came out in the 1970s and that
couldn't be farther from the truth.
The subject matter in this movie is pretty edgy,
even by today's standards. They're talking about drug pushers
that sell cocaine to school kids, prostitution, suicide...really dark
stuff. An old lady calls a cocaine addict a "hophead", which we
don't usually associate with 1930s slang. Despite all of this,
the movie remains pretty "clean" with no bad language, sex, or graphic
This film starts with, and promises, that Jane
Bradford is the main character. She's a country girl who gets
hooked up with a big city drug pusher named Nick. So Jane goes
with Nick to the city and marries him. The story severely drifts
to Jane's brother, Eddie, and his girlfriend, Fanny. Eddie is
working as a carhop in the city, and looks for Jane in his spare
time. Meanwhile, Fanny gets Eddie and herself hooked on cocaine,
too. Then the story jumps to spoiled rich girl Dorothy and her
boyfriend, Dan, who become casual acquaintances of Eddie and
Fanny. Then the story jumps to Dorothy and her troubled
father. Dorothy ends up becoming more of a lead character than
anyone in this movie, and we don't see Jane Bradford or Nick for a very
long time. The ending leaves you way unsatisfied. Jane
shoots and kills Nick in self defense, but ends up being
arrested. Eddie, whom Jane was trying to get money to send back
home, is sick and dying somewhere. That's as far as the story
goes for them. On the other hand, it turns out Dorothy's father
is the major crime boss, and that Dan is really an undercover vice
cop. Dorothy and Dan get engaged. End of movie. Dumb
This movie isn't worth seeing beyond the fact that
it lets us know that cocaine was, indeed, a problem, even back in the
"innocent and wholesome" period of the 1930s.
Lois January as Jane Bradford
Noel Madison as Nick, the Pusher
movie is a remake of "The Pace That Kills" (1928).
The Road to Ruin (1934)- What a downer! A goody-goody high school girl
takes the "road to ruin", becoming a chain-smoking, alcoholic,
two-timing floozy. She gets pregnant, and ends up dying after a
quack doctor performs an unsafe abortion on her. I guess the
message of this movie is for young girls to NOT hang out with the wrong
There are a few cool things in the movie.
Laurel & Hardy mainstay Mae Busch (typically cast as Ollie's wife)
plays Mrs. Monroe, the mother of the main character's best
friend. They don't really show enough of her to save this sleazy
movie, but she's fun to see. There is also a brunette in the last
party scene who is really built. We can tell this because she's
stripped down to her bra. I don't know who she is because credits
weren't very clear in movies from this period. Funny character
actor Donald Kerr played Little Willy, the Drunk Shooting Dice.
Besides these things, the movie is totally dismissible.
(1938)- This movie is bad in every conceivable way.
Bad acting, bad filming, bad writing (what writing?)...it's just
bad. The only watchable part was a total goof that any decent
editor would have clipped out of the final version. When
Millicent Hamilton (Vivian McGill) talks to her landlady Mrs. Jonas
(Ruth Edell) in the early moments of the film, the window slams shut,
causing McGill to flub her line.
It's hard to tell who the major character is
supposed to be, because there are two distinct sets of
characters. This movie is all about the dangers of reckless,
premarital sex and how it can lead to syphillis and other venereal
diseases. You do have
to give this movie credit in one area; it was allowed to say the word
"sex" not only in the title, but in the script itself. It's not a
big deal in movies from the 1960s onward, but in 1938, whoa! Big
Wreckage [US; reissue title]
Wreckage: They Must be Told! [US; long title]
- They Must
be Told! [US; reissue title]
- For some
reason, there is a moment of lesbianism early in the film that is
clearly devoid of any meaning in this movie.
- This was
the ONLY film credit for most of the cast.
The Terror of Tiny Town (1938)-
This is the world's only all-midget Western musical, and for good
reason. It's not anywhere near as cute or funny as I thought it
would be. It's just another Western movie, but with midgets,
which is bizarre. I really didn't see the comedy factor in this
movie, despite a few sight gags like midgets riding shetland ponies,
and walking under the saloon doors. And I really don't see how this is a
happy movie for kiddies to watch. Several midgets get killed in
this movie, and it's not done in a funny way. Near the end, the
villain punches out his dance hall girl. The villain, himself,
gets blown to pieces in a shack. This movie might have been okay
if it was done in a comedic vein, but it seems too serious. Weird
stuff. I can't believe so many midget actors and actresses
committed to this movie. Had they no self respect?
The only funny midget was Otto the cook (played by
Charlie Becker). I'm all about seeing funny midgets.
However, this movie just isn't worth your time. There's a few
amusing visuals, and that's it.
Billy Curtis as The Hero (Buck Lawson)
Yvonne Moray as The Girl (Nancy Preston)
Little Billy Rhodes as The Villain (Bat Haines) [credited as Little
Billy Platt as The Rich Uncle (Jim "Tex" Preston)
John T. Bambury as The Ranch Owner (Pop Lawson)
Joseph Herbst as The Sheriff
Charlie Becker as The Cook (Otto)
Nita Krebs as The Vampire (Nita, the Dance Hall Girl)
Fern Formica as Diamond Dolly
- Many of the midgets in this movie were in the
comedy troupe, Singer's Midgets. In addition, much of the cast of
this movie played Munchkins in the legendary film, "The Wizard of Oz"
- This movie was made on a budget of $100,000.
- This movie was released in America on December 1,