Escort Girl

December 28, 2010 at 1:56 am (6 Heads, Escort Girl) (, , , )

Escort Girl – 1941 – United States

Mixing melodrama, humor, and exploitation, Escort Girl is a less restrained Mad Youth (also with Betty Compson). With crime, sexiness, and depravity aplenty, Escort Girl isn’t boring. It’s lovably pure page-turning lowest-common-denominator hogwash.

A mom and her scummy crime lord boyfriend rule an escort empire, unbeknownst to Mom’s naive daughter. When Daughter dates a federal investigator hell-bent on cracking the escort racket, loss of innocence and familial fallout ensue. Mom defies jail and mob violence to shield Daughter, but all the players plummet toward a bloody confrontation. Inevitably, it’s a doozy of betrayal, death, and hard justice. Escort Girl is sensationally silly, especially its tidy resolution, but what’d you expect? 60s nihilism (see Just for the Hell of It and She-Devils on Wheels) was years away.

Escort Girl trades grit for humor, spicing up this worn potboiler. From scene one’s cute sassily snide secretary, zany characters and situations creep in constantly. Drunks walk into walls, a tough broad fakes a French accent to hustle a nerd, a gigolo suckers a senile rich widow. Occasionally the laughs are tinged with darkness. For instance, the escorts tease a ditzy colleague after a client beats her. Humor glosses over the harsher subject matter, stripping it of shocks and meaning. Considering this, Escort Girl’s plentiful sordidness lacks punch, but it’s impossible to completely lampoon these amoral hustlers.

Like all this era’s (and most eras’) exploitation, Escort Girl isn’t as raunchy and exciting as you’d hope, but solid scripting, cheap laughs, and cute dames work hard to enhance watchability. The result is a titillating dramedy instead of a scandalous expose. Escort Girl is interesting like most old flicks are—to see how people’s attitudes have changed over 70 years. Thankfully, it’s a passably made too.

Be warned: Escort Girl’s print is rough, with frequent lost frames. Have patience and you’ll be amused.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. I can’t get enough of these moldy oldies!

Obeah’s Obscure Note: In one scene, a man in a nightclub watches an excellent striptease film from a jukebox. Too early for Scopitone—any ideas what this machine is?

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