In an exclusive Swiss school for young girls, Christa Storm discovers she is going to have a baby, and keeps the secret from everyone but her lover, David Perrin, a young medical student. ...
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In an exclusive Swiss school for young girls, Christa Storm discovers she is going to have a baby, and keeps the secret from everyone but her lover, David Perrin, a young medical student. Having been in the private school most of her life, she can't confide in her father whom she hardly knows and, while he wishes to but can't afford to marry her, David can't get the approval of his father. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Wilson, Montgomery and Johnson Make the Most of Their Roles in This Sensitive Adaptation
An American remake of a 1932 German production "Acht Madels im Boot". The earlier film had been a thinly disguised tribute to the Nazi spirit with Christa escaping her dominating father by fleeing to a youth club but her character was overshadowed by her rowing coach whose arrogance shows her as a prototype for an S.S. style leader. It did seem an odd choice for Paramount to remake as an American film but it is a tremendous movie and handled with sensitivity the delicate subject of an unwanted pregnancy. Talented and under appreciated Dorothy Wilson was a stand out with her first role - the "good girl" in "The Age of Consent" and was really given her most challenging role as Christa, the young pregnant schoolgirl who must try to make sense of the situation on her own. David (Douglass Montgomery) is a chemistry student and for a while, the phrases "will you be able to go through with it" and "there's no other way" as whispered by his cynical flatmate, seem to indicate that abortion is contemplated. Christa at first approaches her father (Walter Connolly) who refuses to believe she has grown up before his eyes and the promised visit she has been anticipating for 2 years turns into a 10 minute break between trains in which he plies her with gifts.
Kay Johnson was a marvellous actress who came across as calm and intelligent, maybe too much so for Hollywood because she never seemed to be given much of a chance. Her role of Hannah, the rowing mistress had her playing against type but she relished it. Her Hannah is tough and brutal - a particularly awful scene has her forcing Christa to do dive after dive into an icy lake to cure her of disobedience (the German film was often compared to "Madchens in Uniform").
Of course once she realises Christa's position both she and the classmates rally around to make the girl's confinement as comfortable as possible. Strangely, unlike the German original she does not confront Christa's father - that is left to David, who does it early in the film. It doesn't have the desired outcome, he just thinks the boy is after his money and position and also strange, Connolly doesn't reappear. In this sea of strong women David could have come across as wishy washy but Montgomery gives him strength as well as sensitivity. Initially using the name Kent Douglass (to avoid confusion with another MGM contractee Robert Montgomery) with "Little Women" he reverted back to his own name Douglass Montgomery.
The film was very faithful to the original even featuring a prolonged dream sequence in which Christa relives her dreaded time before the examination board. It also had a charming musical score by Sam Coslow and Arthur Rebner - "This Little Piggy Went to Market" was a big hit for Annette Hanshaw. Also buried in the group of girls was Peggy Montgomery - ten years before as Baby Peggy she challenged Jackie Coogan as the most popular child star. This was supposed to be a comeback and while she got some publicity, not enough to give her a second career.
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