Saturday, July 20, 2013

Child Bride (1938)

The marriage of under aged girls in the Ozarks is a terrible problem. Who will spread the word regarding this awful practice? I know, an exploitation film will!

Eleven year old girl (Shirley Mills) is eyed by an evil bootlegger. Righteous school-marm campaigns for legal reform. Nudie swim, tar and feather, confrontation, crisis averted, roll credits.

Like so many early exploitation films, they tantalize audiences with what they pretend to condemn. Here, it's young Jennie in the buff. And the famous skinny dip scene was both significantly long and, as the MST3K folks said, disturbing. In fact, because of those comments in particular, I was hesitant to watch this thing. But I am curious about the old "pre-code" films (not one, I know), and Amazon Prime had it available, so what the hell. But like MST3k, I too should have skipped it.

From an acting/story/dialog standpoint, it was more than a little sub-par. Take into considering the poor audio and video quality of the public domain copy, not the best viewing experience. Following the story line or even telling some of the actors apart proved to be a chore. But the sets looked authentic enough, which is to say they even totally failed at totally failing at absolutely everything.

But if you feel weird ogling the 11 year old Jennie, rest assured that at the time of filming actress Shirley Mills was the ripe old age of twelve. Not entertaining, not historically significant, not even titillating. The best thing I can say was that it wasn't painful. AMRU 2.

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