Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


June Storey and Kenneth Howell
GIRLS' TOWN (1942). Director: Victor Halperin.

Myra Norman (June Storey) wins the "Miss Ohio Valley" beauty contest and is sent to Hollywood with her plainer sister, Sue (Edith Fellows) as her chaperon. The girls live in a boarding house run by wheel-chair bound Mother Lorraine (Anna Q. Nilsson). Myra is an opportunist who latches onto Kenny Lane (Kenneth Howell), an agent for animal acts who wants to try his luck with humans for a change. But when director Lionel Fontaine (Paul Dubov) sees Sue act, he thinks she may have a lot more on the ball than her haughty sister. Which sister will become the movie star? Kenny, who's been dumped as hooker-hard Myra's agent, assures Sue that double-crossers don't get far in Hollywood -- who's he kidding? Hollywood is made up of double-crossers! In any case, Girls Town is a typical low budget PRC production with little to recommend it, although the acting isn't bad and Kenneth Howell, looking especially good in a mustache, is as charming as he was in all those Jones Family Movies such as Back to Nature for Twentieth Century-Fox. Edith Fellows was also in the 1934 version of Jane Eyre. One gal who makes an impression in this picture is Peggy Ryan [Chip Off the Old Block], who does a very good imitation of Bette Davis in Dark Victory. Talented and tragic Howell made his last film in 1951 and committed suicide 15 years later.

Verdict: "Jack Jones" to the rescue. **.

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