Jobless Betty Andrews, although innocent, is convicted of a department store theft and, despite the best efforts of her lawyer and noted social worker Mary Ellis and a reporter, Jim Brent ...
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Jobless Betty Andrews, although innocent, is convicted of a department store theft and, despite the best efforts of her lawyer and noted social worker Mary Ellis and a reporter, Jim Brent on her behalf, is sentenced to a year in the Curtiss House of Correction. Chief Matron Brackett rules with an iron hand with the aid of inmates Frankie Mason, "The Duchess" and Nita Lavore. One of the inmates commits suicide and a subsequent story by Jim on the prison conditions leads to Mary Ellis being made the supervisor of the prison. When ten girls are allowed to go home for Thanksgiving under the promise of returning by eleven p.m., Frankie and "The Duchess", angry over losing the privileges given them by the departed Matron Brackett, arrange to have Betty kidnapped so she can not return at the appointed time. Another of the girls telephones Jim and he finds Betty a prisoner at a deserted roadhouse...Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
If you can accept that a women's prison is basically a sorority house waiting to be organized, you might enjoy this programmer. Betty Andrews (Hudson) is in the wrong place at the wrong time and goes to prison as a result. She's an innocent victim of mistaken identity, and had the screenplay extended this tough-minded premise into the prison itself, something memorable, like Caged (1950), might have resulted. Instead, the prison population turns out to be young, shapely (except for Tubby), and well-scrubbed. Even the "boss con" Duchess (Lang) looks ready for a night on the town. Of course, the casual cruelty of the uncaring system toughens Betty in a flash, transforming her into a potential social menace, that is, until crusading reformer Mary Ellis (Inescourt) arrives.
Now, I'm on Ellis's side. Prisons should be as humane as possible, not only for the good of the inmates, but for society as well. But this is Hollywood at its phoniest, where every pitfall is overcome by a near miraculous turn of the script. Look at how easily Brent (Ford) is able to locate the overdue Betty or how compliant the commissioner is or how quickly even Duchess turns around. The message here is a laudable one, namely, that kindness works. However, it's spread on in such simple-minded fashion that it becomes little more than propaganda for a good cause. Perhaps the screenplay reflects New Deal optimism of the time, and worked for those reform-minded audiences. Now, however, the movie's main interest is to fans of a lively young Glenn Ford before he learned the power of low-key.
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