Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Overlooked Movies -- Girls Town

What we have here is a great trash classic. It has so much going for it that I hardly know where to begin. How about the cast, featuring the world's oldest teenagers? Okay, there's Mamie Van Doren, which right there lets you know you're in for a good time. There's Mel Tormé as a "hot-rod hoodlum"! Ray Anthony as a private-eye. Harold Lloyd, Jr. Charles Chaplin, Jr. Paul "Lonely Boy Anka! Dick Contino. (Yes, the same one James Ellroy fictionalized.) The Platters! Not to mention Elinor Donahue, Cathy Crosby, Gigi Perreau, and Gloria Talbot.

One of my favorite memories of this movie comes from its first appearance on screen in my hometown. I was trying to talk a friend into going to see it with me. "It has Mel Tormé in it," I said. "Who's Mel Tormé?" he asked. "He's the Velvet Fog." "I still don't know who you're talking about." It was 1959, but Mel's time had come and gone. This movie didn't bring him back into the limelight.

It didn't do anything for Paul Anka's acting career, either. He's pretty bad. Okay, more than pretty bad.

So why do I love movies like that? I have no idea. Even in 1959 I knew how bad it was. But it shouldn't be forgotten. Watch it and see if you don't agree.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I think we liked them because they were a respite from the real world. Even then, kids weren't as carefree as the ones in those movies. I can watch Gidget still today and dream about spending my life on the beach with Moondoggie.

Jerry House said...

This one edges out THE NAVY VS. THE NIGHT MONSTERS as my favorite Mamie Van Doren film.

Anonymous said...

Of course I agree with you, Bill. This was a true classic. And Elinor "Princess" Donahue was extremely hot in it.

Patti, you are Jackie really are sisters under the skin! She loves Moondoggie.

Yes, Anka's acting was as bad as his "(She's) Having My Baby" and Mel was ridiculous, but who cares?

This was a gem.