As difficult a time as poor Jimmy Wilson may have had in I Accuse My Parents, he had it easy compared to the high school students in another 1944 look at teens-gone-wild, Delinquent Daughters!
In the tradition of many a great low-budget exploitation film, Delinquent Daughters starts out with a newspaper headline. A teenage girl named Lucille Dillerton has committed suicide and, according to the headline, juvenile delinquency is on the rise! Seeking answers for why the town’s teenagers have suddenly gone crazy, the very stern Lt. Hanahan (Joe Devlin) goes to the high school and starts a very heavy-handed investigation. However, even in 1944, everyone knows that snitches get stitches.
Or, as student Sally Higgins (Teala Loring) says, “I’m allergic to quiz programs….I don’t know nothing and I forgot everything I ever knew.” Sally, it quickly becomes obvious, is the ring leader of the town’s delinquent daughters. She was also my favorite character in the movie because 1) she was a rebel, 2) she was independent, and 3) she didn’t take any crap from anyone. The adults in the film might condemn Sally but I’ll bet most of the people sitting in the audience wanted to be her.
Anyway, it quickly becomes apparent that Lucille’s death was connected to the Merry-Go-Round club, a popular teen club that’s owned by a gangster named Nick (Joe Dawson) and his girlfriend Mimi (Fifi D’Orsay, and who wouldn’t want to live at least one day with a name like Fifi D’Orsay?). Nick gets away with serving liquor and playing jazz at his club by providing adult “chaperones” for all the teens. Or, as Nick puts it to Mimi, “We got chaperones so we can deal with the bobby sock trade.”
Delinquent Daughters is another one of those movies where the worst possible thing that could happen does happen. Apparently in the 1940s, any act of teenage rebellion would eventually lead to murder and dancing. Much as with I Accuse My Parents, this is a film that I like because it’s both a view into an earlier age and evidence that teenagers have always been viewed as being trouble.
And you can watch it below!