Jill Bradley (Joan Evans) is a small-town 16-year-old girl who has distracted parents (Lynn Bari and Melvyn Douglas) and a seemingly devoted boyfriend named Larry (Robert Arthur of Naked Youth). When Larry brings Jill to his house when his parents are gone, he passes out on the sofa and is found hungover the next morning. Larry is forced to break up with the "fast" Jill, who dates lots of guys to get over her heartbreak and winds up with a "reputation," nearly leading to tragedy. On the Loose is a time capsule of a movie, looking back at 1950's attitudes towards dating and premarital sex, as well as at timeless troubled marriages, and on that level is quite effective. Joan Evans [Roseanna McCoy] gives a very good performance as the confused and unhappy young woman, and the rest of the cast are also on target, with Melvyn Douglas [Hud] delivering some fine moments when he does his best to bond with his daughter in the second half of the film. Hugh O'Brian makes an impression as a kind-hearted doctor, and Tristram Coffin plays a judge, who shows up after some melodramatic developments in a bar. The ending is unrealistically happy but nevertheless touching.
Verdict: Teen angst well-played. ***.