HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Kat and the Band
Echo
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
   
 
  Girls Town Van Doren's Never Borin'
Year: 1959
Director: Charles F. Haas
Stars: Mamie Van Doren, Mel Tormé, Ray Anthony, Margaret Hayes, Paul Anka, Cathy Crosby, Gigi Perreau, Elinor Donahue, Gloria Talbott, Sheila Graham, James Mitchum, Dick Contino, Harold Lloyd Jr, Charles Chaplin Jr, The Platters, Peggy Moffit, Peter Leeds
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Trash, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Chip (Mel Tormé) is a ne'erdowell out with his latest conquest by the beach in his hot rod one evening, and just as they are starting to share a tongue sandwich, they hear a scream and look around. He sees a girl being chased by a man, but is not too bothered and recommences his canoodling, that is until he hears him cry out - he has tumbled over the nearby cliff to his death. The girl seems to be wearing a distinctive headscarf belonging to Silver Morgan (Mamie Van Doren), so Chip heads over to the home she shares with her guardian and sister to find out what is going on - and finger her for the crime. However, Silver is having none of this and protests her innocence...

You just knew when you saw the combination of Mamie Van Doren and producer Albert Zugsmith that entertainment was going to be on the cards, and so it was with Girls Town, maybe not one of their highest profile escapades, that title would probably be High School Confidential, but garnering a certain notoriety among vintage trash fans for showing off Mamie at her bad girl best. You had the impression John Waters was lapping up her movies as a teen, inspiring him to fresh heights of bad taste when he would cast Divine in similar, even more exaggerated roles, but there was nobody quite like Mamie, despite her rivalry with Jayne Mansfield and to an extent, Marilyn Monroe.

A brassy platinum blonde, she was able to carry a considerable sexual charge to her performances that can still be quite startling today, and Zugsmith would push that envelope as far as it would go in her films for him. Alas, Girls Town fell foul of the censor, when no matter how pious Silver eventually wound up in the story, religious groups objected to the whole production, which could best be described as a juvenile delinquent female version of the Bing Crosby hits Going My Way or The Bells of St Mary's. There was no real equivalent of Der Bingle here, though his nickname is invoked as a swear word (!), but the point was to halt Mamie's progress to the furnaces of Hades.

Which meant her controversy over her shower scene, doubling as a musical number because, well, why not? Although you couldn't see anything too explicit, it was clear the star was starkers behind that shower screen as she belted out one of her pseudo-rock 'n' roll numbers as was her wont, and when the priests had the vapours, the scene had to go - if ever there was a reason to be sceptical of the benefits of organised religion, there it was. Van Doren fans of the day had to be content to see her fill out a ludicrously tight sweater and skirt which she sashayed across the screen in, although to be fair that was probably enough to prompt millions of, shall we say, less than wholesome thoughts. Resolutely doing the opposite was singer Paul Anka (with an introducing credit), who for some reason was attending the girls reform school as well.

It had to be said, Mamie did not make a convincing sixteen-year-old, but pop idol Anka made a convincing twelve-year-old, no matter he was supposed to be older, and witnessing him change Silver's heinous ways with a chorus of Ave Maria that reduces her to tears, and not tears of laughter either, lifted Girls Town to camp heaven. As if that were not enough, we were asked to swallow that crooner Tormé was a rough, tough he-man and not the ever so nice favourite of the nation's grandmothers, so Zugsmith put him in a drag race in an empty river bed where the participants were not allowed to touch the steering wheel. Also along for the ridiculous ride were former child star Gigi Perreau as Silver's sister who reveals her softer side, and Gloria Talbott demonstrating her judo moves by throwing Mamie over her shoulder - Anka and Tormé even got into a fist fight, preposterously. With more laughs than many a purported comedy, priceless slang dialogue you just knew was invented for the movie, and Mamie's va-va-voom (as they called it back then), this was top-flight trash until the fake morality intervened.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 586 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: