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Girls of the Road (1940)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  24 July 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 100 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

A story of the great-depression era about women hobos, tramps, job-seekers, fugitives and runaways running from or toward something as they hitch-hiked their way across the United States, ... See full summary »



(original screenplay) (as Robert D. Andrews)
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Cast overview:
Helen Mack ...
Marjorie Cooley ...
Mary Field ...
Mary Booth ...
Madelon Grayson ...
Grace Lenard ...
Evelyn Young ...
Officer Sullavan
Eddie Laughton ...
Howard C. Hickman ...
Gov. Warren (as Howard Hickman)


A story of the great-depression era about women hobos, tramps, job-seekers, fugitives and runaways running from or toward something as they hitch-hiked their way across the United States, dodging the police, do-gooders, lustful men and pursuing-husbands in a bad mood. One of them is a killer, another is a girl hitch-hiking to her wedding in order to afford a wedding gown, and there is also the Governor's daughter who crusades on their behalf, while hitch-hiking along with them. Written by Les Adams <>

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"I'm ELLY!...I'm boss of the 'Jungle" and I'll smack any dame startin' trouble!" (original poster) See more »


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Release Date:

24 July 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Estrada Perigosa  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Though the "girls of the road" are supposed to be broke, sleeping outdoors and living on the thin edge of starvation, they all have perfectly permed hair and plucked eyebrows. See more »


Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Written by Wallis Willis
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User Reviews

Streamlined and Sanitized
14 October 2009 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

The best thing about this highly sanitized expose is that its heart is in the right place. Importantly, the movie serves as a peek into how the uprooted, even women, were treated by local jurisdictions already burdened by their own Depression problems and unwilling to take on new ones. However, the contrast with the gritty, realistic Wild Boys of the Road (1933) could hardly be stronger, thanks mainly to the deadening hand of the Production Code of 1934.

Note, for example, the general absence of men around these all-girl encampments, rather surprising given the opportunities. But then, including men in the camp mix would have complicated both the tone and the message. Thus, we're left with what looks like an all-girl touring group down on their luck. Note too, how nearly all the well-scrubbed girls are outfitted in the less vulnerable pants instead of dresses at a time when cheap cotton dresses were standard and affordable, (consider Barbara Hershey's cheap little print in the much more realistic Boxcar Bertha {1972}). But most revealing is when one of the girls explains why it's easier being a penniless man than a penniless woman. What she says is true, but, tellingly, she leaves out the one big advantage women-- especially the comely young women of this movie-- have when needing to earn a buck. In fact, as part of its streamlining and sanitizing, the screenplay suppresses altogether what should be the rather obvious topic of prostitution.

All in all, I suspect the movie reveals more about the state of Hollywood politics, circa 1940, than it does about its subject matter. Nonetheless, I agree that TMC should be congratulated for reviving such obscurities. And though the movie is, I think, far from a classic, it is a provocative window into its time and into a topic many of us didn't know existed. Besides, I sense an underground fan club forming around the sorely neglected Ann Dvorak. With her large, expressive eyes, aquiline nose, and the courage to take on an ethnic stage name-- plus genuine talent-- she merits re-discovery in a big way.

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