11 user 2 critic

Girls of the Road (1940)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 24 July 1940 (USA)
A story of the great-depression era about women hobos, tramps, job-seekers, fugitives and runaways running from or toward something as they hitch-hiked their way across the United States, ... See full summary »


Nick Grinde


Robert Hardy Andrews (original screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews)


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Cast overview:
Ann Dvorak ... Kay Warren
Helen Mack ... Mickey
Lola Lane ... Ellie
Ann Doran ... Jerry
Marjorie Cooley Marjorie Cooley ... Irene
Mary Field ... Mae
Mary Booth Mary Booth ... Edna
Madelon Grayson Madelon Grayson ... Annie
Grace Lenard Grace Lenard ... Stella
Evelyn Young Evelyn Young ... Sadie
Bruce Bennett ... Officer Sullavan
Eddie Laughton Eddie Laughton ... Footsy
Don Beddoe ... Sheriff
Howard Hickman ... Gov. Warren


A story of the great-depression era about women hobos, tramps, job-seekers, fugitives and runaways running from or toward something as they hitch-hiked their way across the United States, dodging the police, do-gooders, lustful men and pursuing-husbands in a bad mood. One of them is a killer, another is a girl hitch-hiking to her wedding in order to afford a wedding gown, and there is also the Governor's daughter who crusades on their behalf, while hitch-hiking along with them. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"I'm MAE!...I shot a man once, and I've been traveling fast ever since!" (original poster) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

24 July 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Estrada Perigosa See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Though the "girls of the road" are supposed to be broke, sleeping outdoors and living on the thin edge of starvation, they all have perfectly permed hair and plucked eyebrows. See more »


Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Written by Wallis Willis
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User Reviews

From height of Depression, this social drama is again -- or still -- relevant
3 July 2018 | by morrisonhimselfSee all my reviews

In the city where this movie was made, where Columbia Pictures studio stood, where across the years probably millions of people have sought their dreams, in this year of A.D. 2018, anywhere from 40- to 60,000 people, men and women and children, are homeless.

Because it is Los Angeles, one of the most corrupt and incompetently run cities in these United States, the homeless are both coddled and harassed by various government bodies.

But genuine long-lasting help? Not in Los Angeles! One not so famous singer, with his own hands started building "tiny houses," giving them to homeless people of his acquaintance, and of course the city moved in garbage trucks and armed agents and stole at least three of them!

Eventually they were returned, but with the solar cells missing!

Private individuals and companies have donated land on which to erect the tiny homes and, again of course, have run into all kinds of bureaucratic obstacles. It is, to repeat, Los Angeles.

"Girls of the Road" was produced in one of the worst years of the Depression. After several years of the "New Deal," millions more people were out of work, tens of thousands more businesses had collapsed, and the Roosevelt administration, which had sought for answers in Italy, Germany, and Soviet Russia, had concluded only a war could save the situation. And, in the next year, got one.

In this excellent movie, beautifully written, and superbly acted, desperate people exhibit the best and worst traits one would expect from people who have experienced the worst from other people.

They have lost all dignity, and have had to beg for hand-outs since, being "road girls," no one will hire them for real jobs.

One outsider sees a way, and, in this film, is well-enough connected to bring about a partial, and maybe temporary, solution.

In modern life, governments have destroyed jobs and erected impossible obstacles for the creation of new jobs.

Supposedly free human beings are required to carry government-issued cards embossed with government-issued numbers, without which those supposedly free human beings cannot even apply for jobs.

And in many situations cannot even apply for hand-outs from allegedly Christian agencies.

Helen Mack has long been one of my favorite actresses. Her performance in "The Milky Way" made me think she was perfect in comedy parts, but her performance in "Girls of the Road" showed me she is perfect in any role she wanted to play. She is powerful, mesmerizing, as "Mickey."

Ann Dvorak is, as usual, also perfect. She was an elegant-looking lady, although she's also been perfect as much rougher characters, and she had a nearly musical voice, very noticeable in this role.

Having some experience and knowledge of the current problems of homelessness, I was moved to tears by this movie, by the script as well as by the performances.

Solutions to our problems are not be found in government -- please be sure to listen to what "the governor" says in the opening scenes. It accurately sums up why governments are not to be looked to for answers.

Voluntary co-operation between and among individual human beings, caring human beings, perhaps working with voluntary organizations, including such loving and generous agencies as the Salvation Army, can, though, immensely lessen these kinds of human problems, sometimes known as "societal problems."

But they are not "societal." They are human.

Please do watch "Girls of the Road." Remember the context, the worst years of the Great Depression, and try not to let the too-dark print at YouTube prevent your seeing what great drama and, at the same time, what a great message of hope is presented.

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