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Film: Girls Town
... trying to crowd a lifetime of thrills into one night ... EVERY NIGHT!

1959 pseudo-explotation flick starring Paul Anka, Mel Torme and Mamie Van Doren. Featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000!

The movie opens with Silver's (Mamie Van Doren's character's) sister Mary Lee fending off some guy named Chip. In the process, the spaz accidentally falls off a cliff to his death. Silver's lipstick is found at the scene by Fred (Mel Torme), and he tries to Blackmail Silver, but he's Mel Torme so that doesn't work.

Meanwhile, some orphaned teenager named Serafina with an obsession with Paul Anka Jimmy Parlow (played by Paul Anka) is brought into Girl's Town - which is totally not a reformatorynote . Silver is too (Chip's Dad blames Silver and swears to have her put into jail or worse), because otherwise the movie's title would be pointless as well as stupid.

The two meet and Serafina shows great interest in becoming Silver's "Henchmen". Silver goes out with a man, but oops! It was one of Chip's Dad's flunkies.

Fred realizes it was Mary Lee who was there when Chip fell off the side of the cliff and tries to blackmail her into being his partner in hands-off drag racing, then plans to send her to Mexico so that she can't rat on him when the other driver dies. Silver catches wind of this and knows she has to save her sister. After a heartfelt rendition of "Ave Maria" from Jimmy, Silver finds religion inexplicably earning the respect of her Delinquent class mates. They rescue Mary Lee and the movie winds to an end.

Overall, the movie isn't the worst to be aired on MST3K. It was a lame attempt to cash in on the popularity of some non-actors and more attention could have been paid to Serafina and Silver's relationship (they actually barely interact in the film), but it does have some clever ideas - they just aren't followed up on enough.

Also, Mamie Van Doren.

For tropes associated specifically with the MST3K version, check out the episode recap page.


Girls Town has examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Mamie Van Doren gets compared to Diana Dors by Tom Servo. The comparison is fairly accurate.
  • Asshole Victim: Chip, whose murder Karmic Death kicks off the plot, was killed while trying to rape Mary Lee.
  • Broken Aesop: Tries to be a straight-up morality tale about "juvenile" delinquency. It comes across as "being punished for something that a) you didn't even do, b) was an accident, and c) would have been entirely justifiable even if you had (fighting off a would-be rapist) is the best way to turn your life around!"
    • To be fair, the father who has her thrown into reform school is clearly shown to be in the wrong, and Silver was on probation.
  • Butch Lesbians: Strongly implied with Vida and Flo.
  • Cat Fight
  • Dawson Casting: For one, Mamie Van Doren was a mite 11 years older than her character.
  • Delinquents: A whole boarding house full of female delinquents.
  • The Fifties
  • Honey Trap: Reversed - the "smoldering deliveryman" who takes Mamie on a date is actually trying to get her to incriminate herself in Chip's murder. (So, Sausage Trap?)
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Something incoherent about lemmings is supposed to inspire a young delinquent who is being stalked by a man who thinks she murdered his son. In the end, Jimmy is able to this via singing Ave Maria.
  • Idol Singer: Paul Anka. Also, his character.
  • Jive Turkey: Everyone. Well, not the nuns. Or The Platters.
  • Jerk Ass: Fred, who is willing to force an underaged girl out of the country so his Dad won't take his car.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: The explanation for Serafina's obsessions over anyone who shows her the slightest bit of affection is explained by this.
  • Male Gaze: Silver Morgan wears a dress that accentuates her large bosom.
    Mike: A subtle evening gown that says LOOK AT THIS!
  • Messianic Archetype: Paul Anka's character. Yeah really.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: Mel Torme, Paul Anka and Ray Anthony.
  • Playing Against Type: Mel Torme plays the character described in the Jerk Ass. What.
    • Actually, jazz singers were not favorably looked on for decades.
  • Playing Gertrude: Mel Torme, who was well into his 30's (and looked it) while his character was rather obviously supposed to be much younger.
  • Rape as Drama: Twice. First by Chip, then by Fred, both on Mary Lee.
  • Real-Life Relative: Sorta. The movie stars Harold Lloyd Jr. and Charles Chaplin Jr. What?
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Silver and Serafina
  • Sempai/Kohai: Silver is the Sempai, and Serafina the Kohai.
    • Which is a reversal of the actual seniority ladder as Serafina was at Girls Town long before Silver.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Serafina, to the extent that she counterfeits a love letter to herself from Jimmy (Paul Anka's character) and tries to use it to blackmail him into dating her.
  • Totally Radical: The dialogue is just painful at times.
  • There Are No Therapists: As caring as the sisters are, didn't anyone think a mental health professional might do Serafina more good?
  • You Keep Using That Word: "Henchman."
    • By "henchman", Silver means "doormat".
      • She probably does mean "henchman," as in "faithful follower or attendant;" but the way she defines it ("buddy-buddy, pal") Serafina understandably takes it as "BFF."

The Girl in Lovers' LaneMystery Science Index 3000 Godzilla vs. Megalon
GidgetFilms of the 1950sThe Hideous Sun Demon

alternative title(s): Girls Town
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