Delinquent Daughters

August 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm (5 Heads, Delinquent Daughters) (, , , )

Delinquent Daughters – 1944 – United States

Delinquent Daughters was produced by PRC, a Poverty Row studio with an astounding legacy of exploitation, horror, noir, westerns, and comedies. PRC cranked out 200+ flicks in less than 10 years. While this certainly indicates the quality of most PRC movies, the works of Edgar G. Ulmer bear mention—check out Blue Beard (1944) and Detour (1945). Unfortunately, Edgar G. Ulmer has nothing to do with Delinquent Daughters, which is merely typical juvenile delinquent flotsam.

Some teenagers (played by twenty-somethings) rob, carjack, and pack heat. They hang at a “honky tonk” (a.k.a. nightclub) specializing in the “bobby socks trade” (a.k.a. high-schoolers) run by a crime lord and his saucy Latin girlfriend. The teens’ moral compasses short-circuit after the troublesome youth are involved in a fatal hit-and-run.  Eventually, there’s a ridiculous intervention at a judge’s house where their boozing/abusive/self-absorbed parents are chastised for improper rearing and the kids depreciate themselves. Thankfully, one sneering tough-girl isn’t having it and runs off with the crime lord, soon dying in a catastrophic car wreck while fleeing the cops. In the final scene, the judge opens a chaperoned nightclub where the teens can have a wholesome good time and everyone is happy.

Like nearly all the era’s juvenile delinquent flicks, Delinquent Daughters is very dumb—but it’s not boring. There’s a hair-pulling catfight, spouse abuse, child abuse, a comedy relief clueless girl, and amusing slang-filled dialogue. In my favorite moment, an older dude says to his young girlfriend, “Martha Washington was only 15 when she got married, and look what she got—a president!” I also appreciated the bit where a girl calls her old man a “lemon squeezer”.

Sure, compared to the far more exploitative juvenile delinquent films of later decades (i.e. Just for the Hell of It), Delinquent Daughters is tame stuff. It portrays the troublemakers as misdirected, laying blame on their unloving absentee parents instead. Gross oversimplification aside, it’s still a fun time capsule, enjoyable for its naivety and hokum.

Unfortunately, a terrible transfer mars Delinquent Daughters’ DVD edition. Literally a fifth of the movie is nearly completely black. Granted, these cheapie flicks aren’t lookers anyway. At least the audio is still good.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. As a public service, I show this flick to pretty much every kid I meet.

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