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

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Joan Evans
ON THE LOOSE (1951). Director: Charles Lederer.

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. ***. 


angelman66 said...

Have not seen this one but need to. Trivia: Joan Evans's godmother and namesake was Joan Crawford, who was best buddies with the girl's screenwriter/producer parents. But when Crawford helped Joan elope with her fiance (both were under age) against her parents' wishes, little Joan's mom and dad never spoke to big Joan again...but little Joan's marriage was a success.

William said...

Yep, all true. And Evans' mother Katherine Albert later wrote the screenplay for "The Star," which was based om Crawford but starred Bette Davis. I don't know if various writers on the "feud" ever noted that connection.