Revenge of the Virgins

The great joke is saved or suspended until the very end while a variant of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is joined to The Ring of the Nibelungs for an acutely tender tale of Rhinemaidens guarding the gold of California’s streams from eager prospectors. They are Indian maidens, their tender nakedness in loincloths is not comical but as ingenuous as Copland’s opera, and they kill.

The very proficient script is ascribed to Edward D. Wood, Jr., though not in his accomplished style but thoroughly acquainted with the demands of composition in Western form and characteristically original in its conclusion, which brings in the joke by a kind of natural abstraction while at the same time allowing the plot to end perfectly and thereby create a pure and complex image that is more than the sum of its parts.

Truth and beauty are after all his forte.


Below the Belt

The tale of a mooch, a fight manager who takes the lion’s share and all the girls, whom he mistreats, leaving the honest-to-heck boxer with his faith and his regimen.

Mobster Louie (could it be Fred Finklehoffe?) likes the kid but beats his own hookers when they disturb him on the phone talking facts and figures, he puts out a contract after being flattened at the training camp over one.

There might be a way, a hit or a higher-up, but that same hooker with a bruised face winds up in the manager’s bed, to keep the boxer in trim.

It’s all over, a good pummeling KO’s him, Benny the washed-up pug who cleans up around the joint lays the guy out in boxing trunks and gloves, one eye closed, dead as only a mooch can be.


Tobacco Roody

Miss Tennessee Cinderella Jones, “Tootie”.

Stepmother fends off the sheriff and makes the back payments on the mortgage, stepfather biles up his moonshine and has Tootie.

The stepsisters have each other.

“Blame it on that good old mountain dew.”

Three hicks arrive from selling locoweed to ignorant city folks, sip shine and dance, and go in to the sleeping daughters.

Stepfather and stepmother is reconciled.

The director appears as Harry of Nashville, one-time beau of a stepsister.

A French girl loses her way and sips a jug in the barn with stepfather, Cendrillon.


My Boys Are Good Boys

“Sure miss the boys,” said Phil Harris to Jack Benny on vacation.

A Buckalew feast, richly delivering Los Olvidados and a crime spree and a surprise dénouement.

Youth offenders in Camp Josephi break out to rob an armored car, come up short, ride it all day to the tune of $50,000 and slip back inside.

The father of one is the hijacked driver. His wife has a prize female pupil driving the getaway car.

Lloyd Nolan is on the case, with Ralph Meeker and Ida Lupino. David F. Doyle is a guard who sympathizes.

The ending was noticed by Brian Dennehy in Shadow of a Doubt.