Sunday, July 10, 2011

GOOD-TIME GIRL (1948) - if this is a good time, maybe we should aim for the suck

Gwen is one of those "troubled" British teens who has trouble foist upon her, at least after an initial “crime”. She merely borrows a brooch from work and returns it, but is caught by her sleazy boss. Gwen won’t allow herself to be molested, so of course he fires her. Gwen's father finds out she was fired and, instead of molesting her, he just beats the shit out of her, and things go downhill from there. I know some parents insist that beating up their kids “instills discipline”, but I can’t help but think it mostly ruins lives. Then again, I don’t have any kids, so maybe I’m just an armchair quarterback when it comes to the subject of smacking around an innocent child.

Skipping ahead, Gwen ends up in a reform school, which is really just a prison for hot young chicks (in the movies anyway). She is scrubbed clean and maybe searched vaginally, in case she’s trying to smuggle in a nail file between her legs. Not to sound like a pervert, but I wonder if one of these reform school scrubber squads is hiring. I’d like to think I’m thorough. You know, who am I kidding…that is grade A pervert talk right there. Anyway, she’s handed her brand new uniform by the de facto female warden (whatever her title is), custom fitted as it is for bad girls that can’t fit into “normal” society. Gwen throws the clothes down, screaming “I WOULDN’T BE SEEN DEAD IN THEM!”. Yeah, stick it to the man.

Of course, Gwen immediately gets into a catfight with the resident tough girl, who uses the excuse that they were “just doing some exercises” when they get caught in the act. Maybe that sounds like a lame excuse, but you can certainly get a good workout while catfighting, what with the rolling around and the wild grabbing of hair, which can certainly help tone the old pectorals. Gwen then calls the “warden” a “silly old faggot”. This proved quite startling to me, as I had no idea you could call an old lady a faggot. Who says cinema lacks the power to educate?

Well, the women in prison mini-movie quickly comes to an end when Gwen escapes, trying to find the real thief and clear her name (much like The Fugitive, I guess). She does so in very wily feminine terms, going undercover in a sense as a mistress, leading to yet more plot twists that I sure as balls didn’t see coming.

relevant footage begins at 2:00

The movie is a near brilliant example of a film using exploitation material of the time to make some interesting sociological points. The 1st half of the film is a portrait of an innocent girl that is told she is bad by society, despite not doing anything particularly wrong. By the second half of the film, Gwen becomes so embittered by what went on in the first half that she actually becomes the bad girl that society has her pegged as. She is soon forced to become callous as well, even compromises her morals along the way. Her “badness” clearly becomes a byproduct of circumstance, society and family, yet those around her assume she is bad because that is her “essence”. This social conscience is further driven home by the framing device, where a juvenile court counselor tells Gwen’s story to a young troubled girl (a very young Diana Dors). The message is clear; hey young people, take some fucking notes. Life isn’t fair, and it helps to know the ways one can be cheated. That way, you can spot trouble ahead of time, before life fucks you in the ass. But hey, that’s just my interpretation.

P.S. This movie is on Netflix instant watch, and someone also put it on Youtube (the first part is up top).

P.P.S. Victoria Vetri has nothing to do with this movie, but the song on the video is "Good Time Girl" by Nancy Sinatra. Clever, I know.

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