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Runaway Daughters / Shake, Rattle and Rock!; April, 1957
Topic Started: Apr 8 2018, 03:51 PM (243 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Runaway Daughters (1957) Dir. Edward L. Cahn
American International Pictures
91 min. / B&W / 1.85:1

Shake, Rattle & Rock! (1957) Dir. Edward L. Cahn
American International Pictures
72 min. / B&W / 1.85:1

DVDs: DVD UK Ltd. (England)

By george, it's yet another trip to a long-gone drive-in movie theater for an actual by-gum double feature from the hallowed days of yore. ("Yore what?" I heard you say, smartass.) And first up is Runaway Daughters, a tale torn from yesterday's headlines.

Our three titular creatures are a trio of beautiful 17 year old high school girls, all played by actresses in their 20s and one of whom was pushin' 30. Audrey (Marla English) is unhappy despite her parents' millions, 'cause they ignore her and dance with people who aren't their spouse. Dixie's (Mary Ellen Kaye) mom left her and her father is beating her into submission so she won't grow up to be a bad girl like mom; she's actually the best girl in the movie, not that that'll save her. Angela (Gloria Castillo) lives by herself; her parents split, but when her rotten older brother comes to town (with his "girlfriend," Adele Jergens, for heaven's sake) she can get in nothin' but trouble. The boyfriends in the movie are played by Frank Gorshin, Steve Terrell, and Lance Fuller (ewww). For you old timers, parents and other authority figures include John Litel, Anna Sten, Reed Howes, and Ed Cobb(!). After problems with parents, brouhahas with boys, tempests with teachers, and clashes with cops, our three vivacious vixens steal a car and head south to L.A., city of hopes, dreams, and ten-cents-a-dance sleaze joints. One unwanted pregnancy, one near rape, and one fatal auto accident later, our trio of troubled teens head for home, sadder but wiser. Well, one of ’em does, anyway.

When you see "American International Pictures" and "91 min. running time" you just know you're in for a bit of a slog, and we sure were. Cut 20 min. from this and you'd probably have a cult classic, but it sure gets tedious until the girls start hot-roddin' and headin' for doomsday.

Million-dollar Dialog:
Dixie: "Lots of girls are getting married in high school!"
Daddy: "Lots of TRAMPS are."

Young lady summing up the film's interminable plot in only one sentence: "We sure drew ourselves a crummy lot of parents, didn't we?"

Good thing our time machine was workin', 'cause you can't get this film (which was remade in 1994) on DVD in 2018.

Well, intermission consisted of a few snack bar ads, a trip to the loo, Magoo Slept Here, with the nearsighted fellow trying to sell his furniture to a tax appraiser, and trailers for our next double-feature, Rock All Night and Dragstrip Girl.

On to million-dollar movie #2, a real Balcony favorite, Shake, Rattle and Rock!

Mike “Touch” Connors is a rather creepy chain-smoking disc jockey who’s helping the kids compile a “permanent building fund” for their Teen Town Club; Margaret Dumont and Douglas Dumbrille are the oldsters who’re fighting them. Sterling Holloway, who looks older than any of the “oldsters”, is Touch’s “kid sidekick”.

Connors is a father figure to the teens, helping them with arts & crafts and reminding them after his dance show that they’ve all got to go home and do their chores. I’m surprised none of them pull a switchblade on him. Anyway, they too decide to put on a show for their building fund, but the cops break it up and a riot ensues and oh for heaven’s sake, let’s just forget about it. In the end, there’s a televised trial between the deejay and the old fogies, and Fats Domino and Joe Turner and the dreadful Tommy Charles perform, a lisping Chopin-playing boy with a ballerina partner learn how to pound out boogie woogie. This time, for mother and dad the movie also includes Pierre Watkin, Frank Jenks, Percy Helton, Raymond Hatton, and Clarence Kolb (as the judge); even with the kids in the dance scenes, the average age of all the performers in this film is about 70. Funniest scene is Sterling Holloway’s testimony in court; his jive talk goes over the judge’s head and into the stratosphere, you dig, and so everybody dons United Nation headphones and listens to a translation (subtitles on the screen are helpfully provided as well).

Million-dollar Dialog:

Cop, on seeing Margaret Dumont: “I see a dame like that and right away my wife looks good to me.” (And he doesn't even say it in a Groucho voice.)

Both Fats (doing essential recordings I'm in Love Again and Ain't that a Shame, among others) and Turner (Feelin' Happy and others) are nothin' less than sensational. A good, fun movie that deserves wider exposure - and the 1994 remake with Renée Zellweger and Howie Mandel is even better, although it doesn't give us the climactic thrill of Margaret Dumont dancing with Mike Connors.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Sgt Saturn
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Margaret Dumont

I had not realized that she appeared in anything without a Marx brother.
The Ol' Sarge
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