Friday, May 9, 2014

The Violent Years (1956)

Director: William Morgan

Writer: Edward D. Wood Jr.

Composer: ???

Starring: Jean Moorhead, Barbara Weeks, Art Millan, Theresa Hancock, Joanne Cangi, Gloria Farr, Glenn Corbett, Lee Constant, I. Stanford Jolley, Timothy Farrell, F. Chan McClure, Bruno Metsa, Harry Keaton

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Teenage Killers Taking Their Thrills Unashamed!

Plot: Paula Parkins is the teenage daughter of wealthy parents whom don't seem to make time for her, so she looks for thrills as the leader of her all girl gang who steal, rob, and rape young men.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Most certainly.

I dig these juvenile delinquent pictures from the 50s and 60s.  The passage of time makes these more fun.  This one's written by Ed Wood Jr. and it's pretty good.  As much as I dig the movies he directed, this one benefits from having someone else calling the shots. I am curious as to how William Morgan came to direct it.  He'd only previously directed 13 films and all of them were from 1941 and 1943 (that's impressive alone) and then jump ahead 13 years for this one.  Hmmmm.  Well, this picture is a cautionary tale to parents of what can happen when you don't get and stay involved in your child's life.  If you have kids, let this be a lesson to you.  If you don't pay attention to your kids, they'll grow up to rob gas stations and kill cops!

Paula (Moorhead) leads the gang of killer gals, Georgia, Geraldine and Phyllis.  For what this is, B-movie drive-in fare, the acting is pretty good.  The pacing is pretty brisk but it helps that it's just under an hour long. The only bits that come close to dragging are the scenes where a judge is lecturing a defendant and the parents.  He does it in that 1950s stern manner that we've seen a million times before but it's kind of fun.  We get a few scenes of the girls doing bad like holding up gas stations, fucking around with some horny kids at Lover's Lane and so on.

This being the 50s, it's only natural that they be punished (one of them permanently with a bullet) but, this being written by Ed Wood Jr., the ending has a surprise and boy is it a beaut!  It totally caught me off guard and it's fucking awesome!  For my money, that's what elevates this picture from the surplus of Juvi flicks at this time.  This is the first half of a double bill with GIRL GANG (1954) on a great DVD by Something Weird Video (I FUCKING LOVE this company and I'm on a mission to own ever release of theirs - Hey, SWV, any chance you can slap me on the list of folks to review?) that's loaded with similarly themed shorts (like classroom films), trailers, etc.  There's a Drive-In option that adds drive-in theater commercials for the snack bar, intermissions, et al before and after each film giving you a very fun 3+ hours of solid entertainment.  I've got a big screen in my backyard for movies in the Summer and this would be perfect to throw up one night with a bunch of friends, beer and BBQ.  Highly recommended.

Don't pay attention to the IMDb user rating of currently 2.8/10.  30% of the votes are 1/10 and are probably from fanboys of MST3K who give a 1 to everything that show goofed on.

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