Saturday, July 5, 2014

Video Cheese: BAD GIRLS DO CRY (1954/64)

Note: the article, originally written for, has instead been published here by the very kind permission of Mr. Ken Begg.

BAD GIRLS DO CRY (1954/64)
    "Uhhh.... Well, Misty Ayers changes her clothes, gets trapped in a Hollywood vice ring.... Directed by Sid Melton."

    Even if you don't know Sid Melton by name, odds are you've seen him if you've watched just about ANY classic sitcom. For a regular part he held, he was Alf Munroe of Green Acres, but he was almost sure to pop up as a delivery boy or messenger at the door of Lucille Ball, Dick Van Dyke, or Jack Benny on any given episode. He was a short little guy with hard, almost Dick Miller-esque features and dark hair. He popped up on the big screen too. For example, he was the comic relief character who gets rather shockingly gored to death by a triceratops in LOST CONTINENT (1950).

Sid Melton as Alf Munroe

   Somewhere along the line, he directed a movie. I can't uncover the original title. When it was ultimately released a decade later, the title was tacked on from another movie! We know it today only as BAD GIRLS DO CRY

   Upon viewing, one can see why it wasn't released for a decade, and we can see why Melton never directed another movie. The casting of burlesque starlet Misty Ayers didn't do much in securing any sort of release for the film, even around the raincoat theaters where this thing would have been shown. Ayers is cute, but she can't save the film no matter how many times she changes her clothes. 

   The film is similar in plot to a 1958 picture called THE FLESH MERCHANT, but unfortunately is too similar in stylistic composition to 1965's THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS! As a director, Melton brings to the table even less artistic style than Doris Wishman! It's weird, watching a movie with a '54 production date, a '64 release date, and a look that suggests an extremely poor PRC production from around '34!

   Misty Ayers plays Sally, small-town girl who moves to the big city to find a career. She meets the slimy Nick, who talks her into becoming a model and then lands her in a cathouse where she remains trapped, drugged into submission, and turned into a white slave. Johnny, one of her regulars, falls for her and plans to get her out, but the bad guys kill him and Sally must fight her own way out. 

   That's no where near as exciting as it sounds, by the way. Interesting to note is that, in a way, it seems ahead of it's time. That plot could have been filmed in the 70's.

   The tone changes constantly. We're introduced to Sally as she narrates her story and explains how she got to town and then got cleaned up to go look for a job. Up til now, it plays like a fairly average (if low budget) drama headed for crime territory. We then watch, in real time, as Sally strips down and preps herself for a bath. 

   A dissolve later and we watch as she puts on her most-likely-to-get-a-job-dress in the same fashion. This is like a sequence from a burlesque movie (and, in fact, I believe Lili St. Cyr had a similar act - she would wake from her bed and then get dressed). The film even has a piece of theme music for these very scenes!

   Misty Ayers is pretty easy on the eyes, a blonde bombshell type, so these scenes are pretty fun. Drawing the eye in particular is that Misty is wearing some shockingly tiny panties for the early 50's, and the top of her, er, bottom, is on full display.

   Sally ends up as a waitress, and on the job she meets the obviously shady Nick. He talks her into taking up modelling, and she's game. She ends up at a secluded house in LA, unaware it's actually a white slave operation. She strips down to her undies one more time before Nick bursts in, overpowers her, and drugs her. We quickly jump from burlesque to sleazy crime thriller! And again, none of this is done particularly well, so it doesn't seem like an artistic change. It's just confusing!

   Sally ends up one of the house's appliances, and quickly becomes the favorite of the clientèle. Sally rather quickly comes to accept this state of affairs, and she drowsely survives the repeated abuse (although, to be fair, she has been repeatedly drugged out of her senses). One of her clients is the relatively nice guy named Johnny, and they soon fall in love with each other. 

   During this stretch, we also get some long, very painful 'comedy' sketches that I really don't want to think about right now. These mainly involve the other regulars, and what they do to fill their time. Booze is heavily involved in one such sketch.

   We do eventually get back to the main plot, in which Nick guns down Johnny. When Johnny's identity becomes known, Nick's boss comes out to the house to give him what for.

   There's a scuffle, Nick wins. Meanwhile, Sally has learned about Johnny and had just about enough. When Nick appears in the hallway in front of her, she plants a pair of scissors  into his back. Sally goes to jail, but she warns us there are lots of Sallys and Johnnys in the world. Who will help them?

    In a way, the film is a cheat, first raising our hopes with repeated "Misty Ayers takes her clothes off" footage, and then veering into the mix of crime and comedy that follows. Those elements are handled in the most primitive, some (myself included) would say inept, fashion possible. 

   Filmed silent, we're constantly watching the camera swap back and forth as it settles on people who are listening to the other performer speak! The rare times we see a dubbed line, it's delivered into the camera in about the most mechanical way possible, so the enunciation will be obvious for the actor when they dub the lines in later!

   Melton puts in a little cameo as a delivery boy, but he remains off-screen and all we get is his voice. I can't say I blame him for keeping his face hidden.

   For those interested, the film can be found on a Something Weird Video DVD on triple bill with the (shockingly) even worse GOOD TIME WITH A BAD GIRL and the not-bad GIRL IN TROUBLE. In fact, since photos from this flick are so rare, I've used a shot of this disk for my main image.

   I like viewing the film on the disk, because I can zip through the lame "comedy" bits in the middle. For a movie running about an hour long, it can sure drag itself out to a painful extent! Easily one of the worst films I own, technically speaking.

(Again, though, Ayers was quite fun to look at...)

Misty Ayers, possibly a camera club photo?

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