Friday, June 25, 2010

GIRL IN TROUBLE

(1963; Brandon Chase)
Ahhh, life on the farm…circa 1963, Louisiana. Mmm hmm. Well, alright, it doesn’t sound that good. But it could be worse, much worse, especially if you’re a naive blonde beauty looking for indeterminate “kicks” and the kind of excitement that only urban squalor can seem to promise. Anything at all, just PLEASE don’t make me cook Pa’s dinners anymore…
GIRL IN TROUBLE tells the sordid tale of Judy Collins (the gorgeous Tammy Clarke), a farmer’s daughter who decides to chuck the stale humdrum of small town life for the bright lights of New Orleans. Which means she’s also ditching steady beau Johnny, whom she describes as solid and reliable but fears “moving from Pa’s kitchen to Johnny’s kitchen” would be the equivalent of changing cells in the same prison. Amen, sister! So off she goes, suitcase in tow, hitching the back roads of Louisiana. “Like a fool, I took my first steps towards destruction.”
Like so many of the raincoat circuit “road show” pictures of the fifties and early sixties, GIRL IN TROUBLE is badly post-dubbed and is predominated by Judy’s narration of events as they occur. Despite this tawdry hindrance, it is surprisingly well photographed and stands out from much of the like, mostly because Tammy Clarke is exceptionally beautiful, a rarity in the sixties exploitation racket.
Almost as soon as Judy’s decided to take to the road, she’s sprained her ankle and is caught limping down a desolate stretch in the dead of night by a bumpkin who pulls up hesitantly introducing himself, “My name’s Smith…Joe Smith”. Even though it looked as if he’d strained all his brain power to muster that alias, Tammy trusts him nonetheless. This of course leads to attempted rape, thwarted when she bashes him in the head with a rock. Now she’s convinced he’s dead and, furthermore, that she has little recourse…“No one would believe my story, that much I knew.” So off she goes in his car, raucously accompanied by a veritable storm of jazz, which returns every time she finds herself in a bind throughout the movie.
Once in New Orleans, she abandons the car and finds a fleabag called the Lynrose Hotel, signing in with a creepy old lech whose disturbing half-grin is not lost on Judy (“The room clerk’s eyes followed me up the stairs… A leering old man!”). Once settled into her room, she undresses and tries in vain to wash the would-be rapist’s blood off her dress…“Oh, would I ever feel clean again? Somehow I doubted it”.

Meanwhile, the hopelessly depraved clerk lurches cat-like through the attic and into her closet…and what we essentially get here is five minutes of Judy washing her clothes topless while the ol toad licks his chops and bugs his eyes practically out of his head (lasciviously egged on by the GIRL IN TROUBLE brass section all the while…). When she catches him peeping, it’s another mad dash into the streets and into a very uncertain future… “Hours later and many blocks away, I could feel his eyes burning through my clothes”.


So she finds another flophouse and is shown around by a crusty, boozy dragon-woman called Mona, who lavishly appraises Judy’s modest room as “dark as a pit and the bed’s got more lumps in it than the bride’s rice pudding”. Mona is a rather striking old gal and acts as a kind of social barometer or grim reminder (or perhaps she’s just the aping specter of all things "underbelly"). She helps Judy get a job in a dress shop (owned by a friend) modeling lingerie and dresses, which sets up a lengthy sequence in which Judy slowly, playfully poses in a variety of naughty little items (to my surprise, this never became tedious…).
All the sudden, her new boss (an aging blonde harpy) is coolly pawning her off to a boorish Robert Mitchum-type (“I have some new material I’d like you to see… I’d like my best customer to test out my merchandise before I offer it to public”). So Judy’s told to go up to a ritzy hotel room and try on outfits for the guy, who insists she drink brandy and parade through dozens of nighties (the nerve!) until he’s aroused enough to force himself upon her (to thundering, warlike jazz accompaniment…).


When Judy breaks down to Mona (who got her the job in the first place), crying hysterically about the sexual assault, the grande dame of the Orleans gutter swiftly suggests she turn to stripping… “well, why not? What‘ve you got to lose?!”
As was the case with many of the earlier, more tepid exploitation films, a wee bit of nudity and lots of nasty implication were expected to go a long way… While I’d hesitate to guess that GIRL IN TROUBLE was a desperate plea for truth, I do think the purveyors of such kinds of filth were more than just grimy shysters. They were (for better or worse) trailblazers, breaking down old barriers and encountering the new ones… one creepy, leering old man at a time.



4 comments:

  1. Does anyone know what happened to the actress Tammy Clarke I can not find any information on her. Any Biography out there on her ? By the way it was a great movie .

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    1. Loved this one as well. Tammy Clarke is yet another mystifying, unknowable one and done starlet. She was quite lovely and I like to think she wemt on to much better things.

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    2. Hello!
      I too can't find any information about Tammy, but I heard fron her's member of family many years ago,what she don't made any films,exsept from "Girl In Trouble" and he also says,what Tammy Clark - is not a real name of this gorgeous actress.

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