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THE WILD AND WICKED / CHAINED FOR LIFE / CHILD BRIDE


AndyM108
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Did anyone happen to catch this trio of absolutely amazing TCM Underground movies that played last Friday night? I just got around to watching them yesterday.

 

*The Wild and Wicked* is about an innocent small town girl who takes a bus to Hollywood to visit her "fashion model" sister, in hopes of following in her footsteps. What she doesn't know is that her sister isn't really a fashion model, but a hooker! It's like an Ed Wood special.

 

*Chained For Life* is about a Siamese twin who redeems her jilted sister's honor by killing her finance while he's performing on stage! The moral dilemma is then posed of how do you punish the murderer when by doing so you sentence her innocent sister to the same punishment?

 

And *Child Bride,* with the 12 year old Shirley Mills in the title role, is one of those exploitation movies with an actual underlying moral point.

 

The girl's father is slipping around on her mother, who hears about it and then starts a fight, but quickly gets knocked unconscious. The father then passes out drunk while the girl falls asleep, only to discover when she wakes up that her father has been killed.

 

The murderer, who was lurking in the shadows when all this was happening, is actually the father's former moonshine partner, but he tells the mother and the girl that he "saw" the mother kill her husband, and that if the mother doesn't consent to letting the (12 year old) girl marry him (he's in his late 30's or older), he's going to turn her in to the law!

 

Nice guy!

 

Well, the "cavalry" in the form of a law outlawing child brides saves the day at the last moment, but meanwhile we see the cause of the sizable box office grosses on the blue movie circuit - - - a 10 minute scene of the girl swimming in the river in her birthday suit, like a little 12 year old version of Marlene Dietrich in the opening scene of *Blonde Venus.* When you combine it with the total backwardness of the social setting (somewhere in the Kentucky woods), it makes for an unforgettable 63 minutes, to say the least!

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I had read and heard about Child Bride, and finally saw it on TCM On Demand. I can see why the film is so problematic. Event today, full nudity of an actress that young would be problematic. And unlike other nude swimming scenes of the era, even the precode "Blonde Venus," the camera stays on her fairly close range and for a long period of time. While the movie purports to be "educational", the depiction of women in victimized circumstances --, from the near tar and feathering of the schoolteacher who is in her nightgown, to the fight between the father and mother of the girl, where the mother's breasts are mostly exposed, to the situation of the young girl of the title -- all seem excessive and gratuitous. Even by today's standards, the shots of the young girl would be considered exploitative.

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Well, you can see that while all three of these films were made during the time of the Breen Code, none of them actually had a rating. This meant that they were all pretty much restricted to the underground circuit, outside the mainstream movie theaters.

 

And while there's no question that Child Bride is of questionable taste, there's also no question that the main plot depicted did reflect a fair amount of reality at that time, at least in certain parts of the country. Fans of Jerry Lee Lewis will nod their heads in recognition of this point, and *that* marriage took place nearly 20 years after the Shirley Mills movie.

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Andy, these are what I call NO CODE films, since the film makers did not have to agree to the terms of the Code, because they were independent productions and showed in small independent theaters that were not connected to the big studios.

 

Big cities usually had one or more of these kinds of theaters. The content of the films was controlled only by local city and state laws, but no federal laws and no movie Code.

 

In some cases, and in some states and cities, any nude scenes had to be removed, but in other cities they did not, as long as they weren't too long or too many of them. Many smaller towns would not allow these films at all, while some towns could show them outside of town, in county areas, such as at drive in theaters.

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Andy, these are what I call NO CODE films, since the film makers did not have to agree to the terms of the Code, because they were independent productions and showed in small independent theaters that were not connected to the big studios.

 

Big cities usually had one or more of these kinds of theaters. The content of the films was controlled only by local city and state laws, but no federal laws and no movie Code.

 

In some cases, and in some states and cities, any nude scenes had to be removed, but in other cities they did not, as long as they weren't too long or too many of them. Many smaller towns would not allow these films at all, while some towns could show them outside of town, in county areas, such as at drive in theaters.

 

In the case of *Child Bride,* from what I understand there were several different versions that were used in states and cities with different ordinances. Some had the nude swimming scenes and some didn't. That lines up with what you're saying.

 

I remember that in Washington, *And God Created Woman* was shown in one of "those" theaters down on 14th and H Sts, just a few blocks north of the Big Three Loew's theaters that were showing regular first run movies.

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Fred and AndyM,

 

You have both posted (Fred more than once) that these are "no code" movies, and I know what you mean and agree.

But actually, to be accurate, CHAINED FOR LIFE did get an MPAA Approval number. It's right there in the credits: number 15669.

 

I've been researching and logging MPPDA/MPAA Numbers for years so I notice these things!

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You have both posted (Fred more than once) that these are "no code" movies, and I know what you mean and agree.

But actually, to be accurate, CHAINED FOR LIFE did get an MPAA Approval number. It's right there in the credits: number 15669.

 

You could have knocked me over with a feather. But when I think about it, I can certainly see why it got an approval, since the only "shocking" thing about that movie was the presence of the Siamese twins themselves, along with the crude plot and production values, but the overarching message was the question of "What is justice?" Hardly anything objectionable about that.

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>And while there's no question that Child Bride is of questionable taste, there's also no question that the main plot depicted did reflect a fair amount of reality at that time, at least in certain parts of the country. Fans of Jerry Lee Lewis will nod their heads in recognition of this point, and that marriage took place nearly 20 years after the Shirley Mills movie.

 

A friend of mine whose family was from KY has a grandmother who married at 12 (probably around 1950 or so?) and her mother married at 15. My friend married at 19 and her daughter at 23, so I guess coming to OH had a good effect on the family... Didn't Loretta Lynn marry at 12 or 13? Gotta love Apalachia.

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Hi, :)

 

Ok, I'm changing my whole post. :)

 

Edited by: FredCDobbs on Jan 18, 2014 2:55 PM

 

Everyone see this:

 

*In 1945, Hays was succeeded by former U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Eric Johnston. During Johnston's tenure the name of the organization was changed to "The Motion Picture Association of America." Johnston inherited the onerous censorship responsibilities associated with the Hays Code, but added to his mission the promotion of American films, which were gaining in popularity overseas in the post-World War II era. Following Johnston's death in 1963, the MPAA's top post remained unfilled for three years, while studio executives searched for a successor.*

 

*http://www.mpaa.org/about/history*

 

 

So, apparently, after Will Hays departed in 1945, the MPPDA Code name (Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America) and its logo changed to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

 

So, CHAINED FOR LIFE does have the updated MPAA logo.

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