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Jesper W. Nielsen
David Hauerberg Svensson
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Hilde Nyeggen Martinsen,
Jennie is a twelve-year-old girl living with her parents in extremely rural mountain country. Her schoolteacher, Miss Carol, though a mountain girl herself, has gone off to be educated and returned in hopes of stopping the tradition of child marriage which permeates the culture. Jennie's father Ira is a good man who tries to protect Miss Carol from the men who threaten her if she doesn't call off her crusade. One of these men, Jake Bolby, has his eye on little Jennie and plots to make her his bride. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
This film deals with the subject of underage women (rather pre-teenage girls) forced into marriages with older men in the Appalachian mountains and the school teacher who is desperate to get a law passed to outlaw this procedure. She enlists the help of her boyfriend, who is an assistant district attorney.
The focus is on little Jennie (played by Shirley Mills at 12 years of age) who catches the eye of horrible (and much older) Jake when she is swimming naked in the river, and who then blackmails her mother into giving Jennie to him.
The biggest shocker is seeing Shirley Mills bare all in this movie, not to mention that she has already matured at such a young age. First you see her completely topless as she undresses to go swimming in the river (not a short clip either!), then extended shots of her swimming totally nude with her back to the camera, then later a full frontal shot of her in the water. Considering the standards back then as opposed today, it is unbelievable that whoever was handling Shirley Mills' career would have permitted her to do this type of filming, let alone Shirley having no qualms or shyness about doing these scenes - she appears totally natural and actually enjoying herself splashing in the water!
There is also some other brief nudity of Jennie's mother when Jennie's father is beating her up.
The film ratings were not around in 1938, but if they had been no question this would have gotten a minimum of an X rating. If this had been filmed today, it would be rated R, but a 12-year old girl being completely nude would never be permitted (in Europe, it would). It leaves you to wonder how on earth this was ever shown in theaters back then.
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