Runaway Daughters (1956)
By: Paul Ryan on December 20, 2009  | 
DV1 (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 91 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Edward L. Cahn
Starring: Marla English, Gloria Castillo, Mary Ellen Kay, Anna Sten
Screenplay: Lou Rusoff
Country: USA
External Links
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High–schoolers Audrey (Marla English), Angela (Gloria Castillo) and Mary (Mary Ellen Kay) are girls with Problems. Upper-class Audrey yearns for attention from her distracted parents (Anna Sten and John Litel), kicking around with self-proclaimed delinquent Tommy (Frank Gorshin). Angela comes from the wrong side of the tracks, and is considering beating it to the Big City with her crooked brother Tony (Lance Fuller). Meek Mary lives under the thumb of her possessive single father (Jay Adler), but yearns to marry her older (20!) boyfriend Bobby (Steven Terrell). Lured by Tony's promise of easy money in the big smoke, Angela contemplates blowing town, and taking her more morally-upright friends with her…

There's something wrong with any exploitation film titled Runaway Daughters when the most rebellious character in the film is actually one of the girls' parents. Aside from giving their parents lip, staying out late, and dancing to beatnik jazz, these runaways are remarkably tame. Sure, there are also a couple of catfights, the odd scrape with the law, and a broken window (on purpose!!!) but this is still disappointingly lacking in genuine, campy delights. While the three leads are pretty forgettable, Anna Sten manages to steal the film with an amusing performance as Audrey's bored, boozy mum. It's also interesting to see a young, pre-Riddler Frank Gorshin as Angela's boyfriend, but these enjoyable contributions don't save the film as a whole. At 91 minutes, this is too drawn out for this kind of film, with some scenes really dragging, while the ending feels weirdly rushed by comparison.

As an example of American International's run of young-girls-in-trouble flicks, you're really better off with Sorority Girl. That said, Joe Dante must have seen enough in it to remake it for cable in 1994 with Julie Bowen, Paul Rudd, and a bunch of actors from The Howling, so maybe I'm missing something…
Taken from a quite battered release print, there's a constant stream of film artifacts on display throughout. Most prevalent are a series of vertical scratches that are visible for minutes at a time. Like many other titles from DV1's fifties exploitation range, this sports NTSC-to-PAL-converted video, and there's an abundance of interlacing and a generally soft image throughout. However, the lurking boom mike at the ten-minute mark does stand out perfectly clear...
With the print in fairly cruddy condition, the audio also leaves a bit to be desired. Sound quality is generally muffled and crackly, with audible pops around each reel change. Despite this, the dialogue is mostly easy to make out.
Extra Features
The Verdict
Any film with dialogue like "What formula did your mother feed you on, vinegar and what else?" can't be totally dismissed, but Runaway Daughters is too slow and too protracted to be campy fun. DV1's disc gets the job done, but only just.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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