Monday, October 9, 2017

The Violent Years (1956) Juvenile Delinquent Noir

Like Jail Bait (1954) This film fits the JD exploitation, "C-Z" Noirs popular with the Beach/Surfer/Horror/SiFi movie demographic of the late 50s early 60s.

Directed by William Morgan, written by Ed Wood, and cinematography by William C. Thompson. Music by Manuel Francisco

The film stars Jean Moorhead as Paula Parkins, Barbara Weeks as Jane Parkins, Arthur Millan as Carl Parkins, Theresa Hancock as Georgia, Glen Corbett as Barney Stetson, Joanne Cangi as Geraldine, Gloria Farr as Phyllis, Lee Constant as Sheila, I. Stanford Jolley as Judge Clara, Timothy Farrell as Lt. Holmes.
F. Chan McClure as Det. Artman, Bruno Metsa as Manny, and Harry Keaton as the Doctor.

Paula Parkins (Moorhead) rich brat. A female Eddie Haskell. Devious daughter of newspaper editor father and a high profile blueblood mother. As soon as mater leaves for some charity event Paula is on the phone organizing her posse, her bullet bra wearing girl gang, Georgia (Hancock), Geraldine (Cangi), and Phyllis (Farr).

Paula Parkins (Moorhead)
For kicks the gang knocks over filling stations. The gang's M.O. is driving up to a full service gas station in an very conspicuous black four door 1954 Caddy series 62 sedan, pulling a gat on the attendant and emptying the cash drawer.

 For more thrills they also terrorize a lovers' lane couple smooching in a 1955 Ford Fairlane Sunliner convertible. They take all their jewelry and money. They strip the woman of her cashmere sweater. Tie her up with her own ripped up in strips skirt and toss her partially clothed in a slip in the back seat of her convertible.

For the almost back seat romeo they have other ideas. They pull him off into the woods and begin to remove his clothing. We cut to a shot of a leering Paula taking off her sweater. The film cuts away, after all it's 1956. We find out through a newspaper headline that they "assaulted" the unfortunate guy. The fact that later Paula has "a bun in the oven" leaves no doubt that the gals played hide the sausage, probably some facesitting and, thanks to the MPPC, anything your wildest imagination can come up with, with him.

Paula getting ready to ride the baloney pony

Paula finds out from her father, after she feigns innocent curiosity, that the cops are going to stakeout all gas stations that stay open after 10PM with a cop disguised as a gas jockey or mechanic. So Paula tells her crew that filling stations are out.

The gals have an enabler Sheila (Constant) a female fence, who tells the girls that there is a group of people interested in having the girls knock over a school. A what? WTF? This is never explained, probably a commie plot, but it doesn't really matter because if you are still watching at this point you're sticking it through for the outrageous ridiculousness of it all.  A watchman spots the gals breaking in.  While the gals are horrendously trashing a classroom, lol, i.e. ripping the blotter on a desk, erasing tomorrows lesson from the blackboard, throwing a globe through a window, the cops show up driving their 1956 Ford Mainlines, and the girls start immediately shooting. A cop and two of the girls Phyllis and Geraldine are killed, but Paula and Georgia get away driving the Caddy through a hail of bullets.

Detective: These aren't kids. These are morons!

Socialite Jane Parkins (Weeks)

Lt. Holmes (Farrell) far left

Paula and fence Sheila (Constant)

Judge Clara (Jolley)

The film ends with a long moralizing monologue by the judge to Paula's parents, who sentences their grandchild, Paula's illegitimate daughter (yes Paula dies in childbirth) to life in a state institution rather than let them adopt her.

Again, this film is another example of Classic Noir unraveling. Crime stories were syphoning off to TV.  Major Studio B production stopped, and as the Motion Picture Production Code weakened, independent poverty row and low budget film creators were taking more artistic liberties. So those Film Noir that went too far over the line depicting violence started getting classified as Horror, Thriller (even though they were just say, showing the effects of a gunshot wound, or dealing with weird serial killers, maniacs, and psychotics, etc.). Those that went too far depicting sexual, drug, torture, juvenile delinquency, etc., storylines and situations were being lumped into or classed as various Exploitation flicks, (even though they are relatively tame comparably to today's films). The the noir-ish films that dealt with everything else, except Crime, concerning the human condition were labeled Dramas and Suspense. Those that tried new techniques, lenses, etc., were labeled Experimental. Some films are so so bad in all aspects that they acquire the "so bad it's good" Cult status.

The Violent Years is an interesting example of a film that's achieved cult status as an Exploitation Juvie Noir, 6/10. Screencaps are from a Youtube stream.

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