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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Girl Of The Night (1960)

After being brutally beaten up by a "John", a call girl (Anne Francis) begins analysis with a psychologist (Lloyd Nolan) in an attempt to understand the journey that brought her to her unhappy lot. Made the same year as the big budgeted BUTTERFIELD 8 in which the call girl of the John O'Hara novel was changed to a "model", this small B&W film dares to call a spade a spade and nothing is glossed over. Her humiliation by her sadistic pimp (John Kerr in a switch from his usual nice guy parts), her exploitation by her boozed up madam (Kay Medford, FUNNY GIRL), her molestation by a pedophile as a child, etc. Directed by Joseph Cates, the film is based on a non fiction book, a case study written by a psychotherapist, Dr. Harold Greenwald. The potential for exploitation has been eliminated by an intelligent script by Ted Berkman and Raphael Blau. There's no happy ending, just a glimmer of hope. At the center of it all is a marvelous nuanced, complicated performance by Anne Francis in the kind of part and performance actresses get Oscar nominations for. With Eileen Fulton (soon to become the long running star of the soap opera, AS THE WORLD TURNS for the next 50 years) as a first time call girl Francis takes under her wing.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to see John Kerr as a brutal pimp! It sounds like Lloyd Nolan's role is similar to the one he played in PEYTON PLACE (something I somehow got through and got to see Nolan's big, big scene).

    Everything has to have a positive ending whether it makes sense or not, even in PRIDE OF THE MARINES, they ended it pretending John Garfield was on his way to getting his site back.

    Not glossing over the topics involved make this movie sound, somewhat, ahead of its time.