Girls Town

This article is about the 1959 film. For the 1996 film, see Girls Town (1996 film).
Girls Town

Girls Town movie poster
Directed by Charles F. Haas
Written by Robert Hardy Andrews
Robert Smith
Starring Mamie van Doren
Mel Tormé
Ray Anthony
Paul Anka
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
5 October 1959
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $457,000[1]
Box office $875,000[1]

Girls Town is a 1959 film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, starring Mamie Van Doren, Mel Tormé and Ray Anthony. Paul Anka also appears in his first acting role. Van Doren stars as a juvenile delinquent who is sent to a girls school run by nuns, where she finds herself unable to help her sister. The film capitalizes on the 1950s rebellious teen exploitation films, with catfights, car races, music from Anka and The Platters, and sexy outfits. The supporting cast includes the offspring of two major silent cinema stars: Charles Chaplin, Jr. and Harold Lloyd Jr.

Girls Town was lampooned in September 1994 on movie-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. About 15 minutes of the actual film was cut from this version.


The movie opens with a young woman fending off an attempted rape. In the process the would-be rapist accidentally falls off a cliff to his death. Circumstantial evidence places 16-year-old delinquent Silver (played by a 27-year-old Van Doren) at the scene and she is sent to Girls Town, a rehabilitation village run by a group of nuns. There she lives with Serafina (Gigi Perreau) and some tough chicks. Trouble and misunderstandings ensue. Troublemaker Fred (Tormé) saw the cliff incident from a distance and realizes it was actually Silver's sister, Mary Lee (Elinor Donahue), who was there. Fred blackmails Mary Lee into being his partner in deadly "hands-off drag racing," then prepares to take her to Tijuana to sell her into the slave trade. Silver finally wins the respect of her Girls Town friends, but can they rescue Mary Lee?

A subplot involves Serafina swooning over famous singer Jimmy (Anka). During the film he sings "Lonely Boy", "It's Time to Cry", "Girls Town Blues", and "Ave Maria". A scene set in a nightclub features The Platters singing "Wish It Were Me".

Box Office

According to MGM records the film earned $375,000 in the US and Canada and $500,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $65,000.[1]


When Girls Town was first released in Italy in 1960 the Committee for the Theatrical Review of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities imposed the removal of the scene in which Silver is showering, because it was considered to be offensive to decency.[2] The official document number is: 32004, it was signed on 1 June 1960 by Minister Domenico Magrì.[2]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. 1 2 Italia Taglia Database of the documents produced by the Committee for the Theatrical Review of The Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, from 1944 to 2000.

External links

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