April 20th, 2008

TEENAGE DEVIL DOLLS (1955) ** ½

A cop narrates (Dragnet style) the story of Cassandra, a young girl who falls in with the wrong motorcycle crowd and starts smoking marijuana.  After flunking out of school, she marries her childhood sweetheart and slowly goes insane from her mundane married life.  Pretty soon, Cassandra is off running around with her motorcycle riding dopehead friends again and starts taking goofballs, attempts suicide, and gets into automobile accidents.  She then leaves her husband and begins running reefer for a small time gangster while occasionally sampling the merchandise herself.  Eventually she starts shooting heroin and becomes a junkie and is sent to rehab.  After she is released, Cassandra hooks up with a car theft ring led by a dude named Cholo and becomes his best girl.  But their bliss is short lived as the narrator cop finally hunts them down and brings them to justice. 

 

The fact that this is a silent movie with gratuitous narration and bad sound effects dubbed in after the fact may turn many people off, but I kinda dug this flick and enjoyed the constantly desperate tone in the narrator’s voice. 

 

Director Bamlet Lawrence Price (who also plays Cholo) lets things slip away from him near the end of the film as it slowly lumbers towards it’s obvious conclusion, but Teenage Devil Dolls still remains the best film directed by a guy named Bamlet ever made.  The scenes where Price depicts Cassandra’s heroin use are effective (The foaming at the mouth was a bit much, but it adds to the fun.) and the endless ringing on the soundtrack whenever someone is hurting for a fix is well done. 

 

But it’s the scenes of Cassandra’s disparagingly bizarre married life that have to be seen to be believed though.  They’re like something out of a bat shit insane Bergman film.  This flick will never go down in the annals of great juvenile delinquent films, but I’ll be damned if the scenes of Cassandra wigging out on her useless husband weren’t pretty entertaining.  

 

The narrator cop gets the best line of the movie (he gets the ONLY lines of the movie as a matter of fact) when he says, “Addicts have a strange code of ethics”.

 

AKA:  One Way Ticket to Hell.