DANGER!..These Girls are Hot!

Jail Bait
1954 | B&W | 1 Hr 11 Min | Crime | NR |  Howco Productions Inc

Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.

Writers: 
Alex Gordon 
Edward D. Wood Jr.

Stars: 
Lyle Talbot
Dolores Fuller
Herbert Rawlinson

When Marilyn Gregor (Dolores Fuller) is summoned to the police station late one night by Inspector Johns (Lyle Talbot) to bail out her brother Don (Clancey Malone) she is dismayed that there isn't a stronger force in his life. Don has taken up with career criminal Vic Brady (Timothy Farrell) and when they rob a theater and kill a security guard Inspector Johns begins a wide search for Don with the idea that he still may be rehabilitated. Vic has alternative plans and coerces Delores' father, the plastic surgeon Doctor Gregor (Herbert Rawlinson), to change his looks so he can get away from the police. Doctor Gregor performs an impromptu operation and calls Inspector Johns to alert him. When Johns confronts Vic a shocking discovery is made and a shootout threatens the life and happiness of the remaining family. Source IMDB


I'm always looking for a good reason to watch an Ed Wood Jr. movie call me silly but I like the guy and Plan 9 is one of my favorite movies! So when the Midnite Drive-In decided to run a blog-a-thon for Noir films I found my opportunity to jump in. Plus I do not watch anywhere near enough Noir/Crime movies. 

Dubbed "The Worlds Worst Director" Ed Wood Jr has given (To Some of Us) gems like "Glen or Glenda" "Bride of the Monster" and "Night of the Ghouls" it comes as not surprise that he tried his hand at a Crime picture "Jail Bait" in doing his best to keep poverty row picture's style alive and well. So how does this slow paced micro-budget flick pan out when this blogger is soon going to tell you...

Love the Name Inspector Johns
The first notable player in this bad boy is none other than Lyle Talbot who has well over 300 titles to his name. Some of those would be Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Beverly Hillbillies and of course Ozzie and Harriet. I throw him into the mix just due to his last name has to be one cool cat to be a "Johns". I also want to point out his bar scene where he try's to be a tough guy but all I could see was this gentle man if only he had a better director I guess. 

Now the main bad guys are played by Clancy Malone and Timothy Farrell both have close ties to Woods. In fact, Farrell is in the movie The Violent Years written by Woods and is one of those I'm looking to track down and watch as well. Farrell is not too bad in this movie and plays the cool cat bad guy pretty well. 

Nice Shot!
And Clancy Malone has a nice backstory as he was Wood's groceries delivery boy that was an aspiring actor. He got is first taste as a second unit director for Glen or Glenda and getting his first role as an actor in this movie. But it ends there he never did anything in Hollywood ever again. And that is too bad he did a good job in my opinion.



The locations used for Jail Bait was Southern California town that was shot at night.  According to one reviewer, this perpetual night and darkness give the film an "otherworldly ambiance". The interior shots are pretty plain and boring I know Woods was cheap but wow things could not be any duller than this (see picture above). And the timeline is all over the place in an opening scene they start taking and you think to yourself is this later in the timeline? Then somebody will say I can not believe it has been two weeks with no led? What? What just happened here?  Sadly co-writer Alex Gordon gave this movie a much tighter structured storyline than most of Wood's other films. Yet that continuity ugh!

My favorite character in the Movie
And the soundtrack what is up with that soundtrack! The music of the film was composed by Hoyt Curtin and previously used in the film "Mesa of Lost Women" (1953). It makes use of a flamenco guitar and a piano, with their sounds combined in what seems to be a free jazz composition. Now I associate Jazz with Noir but this was not the kind of Jazz I was expecting and at times it really takes you out of the flick!

And then there is this...


What the heck?? And guess what Wood's stole this too! I guess some prints of the film contain a theatrical scene with blackface performer Cotton Watts. He was one of the last notable performers in the genre. The scene was not filmed by Ed Wood, it is lifted from "Yes sir, Mr. Bones". Sadly this was one of the best parts of the movie! 

(Sorry for the poor quilty this was a youtube grab)

And let us talk about this shirtless wonder for just one moment, shall we? That well-chiseled man is none other than Steve Reeves B-Movie fans know him as the Italian speaking, Hercules. The film was the first film credit of Steve Reeves. He was previously a bodybuilder that went on to a notable film career. And... this was one of only two films where the voice of  Reeves was used. The other was musical, comedy "Athena". All the rest of his films were Italian productions with his voice dubbed.
Crazy just plain crazy. This also leads me to believe that Woods had a knack finding new talent and signing old greats to his movies as well. Kind of reminds me of Charles Band or Loyd Kaufman.


Ok back to the review at hand Jail Bait has a simple plot for a Noir/ Crime film that I predicted the outcome pretty early so seasoned Noir fans beware as you will see it coming within a few minutes. But with a very likable cast and not so fast police car chases this movie is not half bad, but the other half like the soundtrack and continuity bring this one down quite a bit. I'm glad I watched it and can check  it off the back log as done! If you're a Woods purest you need to watch this one if you are a Noir fan you might want to skip it I'm sure there are better crime movies for the 30's/40's out there to watch. I will be back tomorrow with one more Noir film to the blogathon so fingers crossed it will be a much better viewing. 

2 Smoking Guns out of 5

Comments

  1. The only Ed Wood movie I've seen is Plan 9 from Outer Space, which I liked more than I anticipated. It's not that I've been avoiding his films, I just haven't made the opportunities to see them.

    After reading your entertaining review, I'm going to give this movie a try as well. Thanks!

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  2. One of the few Ed Wood films I've never seen...and I never knew it was a 'noir', so I'll definitely give it a look! And cool to see so many of Woods stock players in this (thought it looks like there wasn't a part for Tor Johnson, unfortunately).

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  3. My Rare One (who is 6 years older than me) is a romantic fool -- I recently had a birthday *cough* 59 *cough* and was feeling old, but she cheered me up by saying "You'll always be jail bait to me!" Awwwwwwwwwwwww!

    My favourite Ed Wood Jr movie is "Glen or Glenda." My favourite Ed Wood Jr story is that in World War 2, he stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day while wearing frilly women's panties under his uniform. He said he was more scared of his fellow soldiers killing him if they found out than the enemy.

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