Thursday, July 16, 2009
Day 175: MST3K:The Girl in Lover's Lane (1959) - Rank 3/5
This is an odd mix of a moralistic picture aimed at teens and a borderline film noir. A drifter by the name of Bix (Brett Halsey of "Return of the Fly "fame") takes runaway teen Danny (Lowell Brown of nothing fame)under his wing and shows him the ropes of being a vagabond, because it clearly takes a lot. Rather than "drifting," the two settle down into a town with a pretty welcoming ratio of saucy dame to young men. In fact, the only competition is sight is Jack Elam and, well, it goes without saying there's really no competition. Ah, but they must battle the distaste the townsfolk have for drifters with more than just a "Why you always gotta be keeping me down, man?" attitude if they want to win over the hearts of the town's local fillies and law enforcement.
The film is a little light on logic, for the two look far more respectable than most bums I'm used to. If most of Louisville's reprobates looked at their worst like Rod Taylor with a moderate hangover, the city would be pretty well off. So how these two are recognized instantly as drifters, I can't say. Perhaps folks in the 1950's wore their W-2's on their lapels like name badges in the era (that, or maybe it's because they are the only ones wandering around without a briefcase or fedora). The plot is pretty predictable and the acting tepid, though Jack Elam seems to be making his best effort. Oh, and the moral of the tale? Our runaway Danny ditched home because his parents were getting divorced. Boo-hoo. He realizes that warm food is better than a night spent in a box car. And that's even considering that his nights on the train were far more welcoming than those that Chris McCandless experienced, to say the least.
Some might say that my viewing of the film was enhanced by the fact that I was viewing the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of the film. I could also argue that I would have found the film worse due to the fact that the Best Brains crew were pointing out all the faults. Still, I'd rank the film at a 2/5. The episode as a whole was not one of the crew's best, but still entertaining fodder. The show truly excels when lampooning fodder from the horror or sci-fi genre, because the source material is campy enough as it is. However, one particular segment damn near knocked me to the floor. Crow decides to embrace his love of Jack Elam and decides to be Elam in the hopes of attaining an equally prolific career as a character actor. Thus Crow appears with his eyes rearranged in an asymmetrical fashion to mimic Elam. And if that isn't comic gold, I don't know what is.