Girls Town movie poster
|Directed by||Charles F. Haas|
|Written by||Robert Hardy Andrews
|Starring||Mamie van Doren
|5 October 1959|
Girls Town is a 1959 film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, starring Mamie Van Doren, Mel Tormé and Ray Anthony. Paul Anka also appears in his first acting role. Van Doren stars as a juvenile delinquent who is sent to a girls school run by nuns, where she finds herself unable to help her sister. The film capitalizes on the 1950s rebellious teen exploitation films, with catfights, car races, music from Anka and The Platters, and sexy outfits.
The supporting cast includes the offspring of two major silent cinema stars: Charles Chaplin, Jr. and Harold Lloyd Jr.. Also featured is James Mitchum (son of Robert Mitchum) and (as a nun) gossip columnist Sheilah Graham.
Girls Town was lampooned in September 1994 on movie-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. About 15 minutes of the actual film was cut from this version.
The movie opens with a young woman fending off an attempted rape. In the process the would-be rapist accidentally falls off a cliff to his death. Circumstantial evidence places 16-year-old delinquent Silver (played by a 27-year-old Van Doren) at the scene and she is sent to Girls Town, a rehabilitation village run by a group of nuns. There she lives with Serafina (Gigi Perreau) and some tough chicks. Trouble and misunderstandings ensue. Troublemaker Fred (Tormé) saw the cliff incident from a distance and realizes it was actually Silver's sister, Mary Lee (Elinor Donahue), who was there. Fred blackmails Mary Lee into being his partner in deadly "hands-off drag racing," then prepares to take her to Tijuana to sell her into the slave trade. Silver finally wins the respect of her Girls Town friends, but can they rescue Mary Lee?
A subplot involves Serafina swooning over famous singer Jimmy (Anka). During the film he sings "Lonely Boy", "It's Time to Cry", "Girls Town Blues", and "Ave Maria". A scene set in a nightclub features The Platters singing "Wish It Were Me".
- Mamie Van Doren as Silver Morgan
- Mel Torme as Fred Alger
- Ray Anthony as Dick Culdane
- Paul Anka as Jimmy Parlow
- Margaret Hayes as Mother Veronica (billed as Maggie Hayes)
- Cathy Crosby as Singer
- Gigi Perreau as Serafina
- Elinor Donahue as Mary Lee Morgan
- Gloria Talbott as Vida
- James Mitchum as Charley (billed as Jim Mitchum)
- Dick Contino as Stan
- Sheilah Graham as Sister Grace
- The Platters as Themselves
According to MGM records the film earned $375,000 in the US and Canada and $500,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $65,000.
When Girls Town was first released in Italy in 1960 the Committee for the Theatrical Review of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities imposed the removal of the scene in which Silver is showering, because it was considered to be offensive to decency. The official document number is: 32004, it was signed on 1 June 1960 by Minister Domenico Magrì.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Italia Taglia Database of the documents produced by the Committee for the Theatrical Review of The Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, from 1944 to 2000.
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