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Based on a book by Dr.Harold Greenwald: The Call Girl a Social and Psychoanalytic Study. This film tells the story of a girl (Anne Francis) who becomes a high priced call girl. She is exploited by her madam (Kay Medford) until she finds a tough yet caring therapist (Lloyd Nolan) and straightens herself out. Written by
Despite the titillating title, the movie's close to a sleeper. More surprisingly, the production concentrates on the human aspect rather than the sleaze of the title. As the conflicted call girl, Francis turns in an exquisite performance, hitting the right notes without excess. She's neither too sympathetic nor too sappy. Also excellent are the other three principals, especially old pro Nolan as the low-key psychologist. Bobbie (Francis) would like to quit the trade, but is enamored of pimp Larry (Kerr) who's exploiting her with promises of marriage. The Madame, Rowena (Medford), has seen it all and grown understandably cynical, but can't quite quit. She too is tied to her gigolo, the classy Swagger. Thus the movie's about entrapment and how to break the destructive emotional hold.
That opening scene is a grabber, along with the gentleman client who turns out to be something else. We root for Bobbie to break out of the life, develop a sense of own worth and start a new life. Dr, Mitchell is trying to help, but how much he's helping is in doubt since Bobbie bounces back and forth. At times, his counseling seems too low-key to make an impression on the emotional girl. I like the way New York locations are worked tellingly into the storyline, as when Bobbie and her beau experience the liberating openness of Central Park. The ending too is well calibrated to what's gone before.
I recall wandering into the theater in 1960, seduced by the title and the gorgeous Francis. What I got was cutting edge honesty adapted from an actual case history. I expected cheap exploitation; instead I got solid drama, more honest than many an A-production. The 80- minutes may no longer be cutting edge, but the affecting drama remains.
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