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Jody, a juvenile delinquent, escapes from reform school by stabbing a matron and attempting to burn down the building and then takes refuge in a house owned by an ambitious politician David Patton. Despite the hellcat's ample charms, the would-be officeholder wants nothing to do with her and tries to drive her away. She responds by shortly returning to his house accompanied by a gang of delinquent pals and taking him hostage. A sudden act of violence causes more trouble, leading Jody and her gang to hijack David and force him to drive a getaway car to Mexico. Written by
KWAW may be stuck in the ill-paced cage of a '60s TV melodrama, but the source material from pulp author Wade Miller is downright Diana Russell, Ellen Bass, Laura Davis, Andrew Vachss and Judith Lewis Herman in 1985. Which is to say, sexually abused hottie teener goes manipulative, man-hating borderline barracuda.
"Borderline" is the operative word here, yet it was almost unknown back in '64. And it wasn't until the dawn of the feminist movement in psychotherapy in the late '70s or so that =anybody= much connected the sort of character Ann's playing here to serial incest and/or molestation.
At the time, in fact, most of the so-called "authorities" on juvenile delinquency thought runaway girls were just "evil." That most of them =were= what Jody claims to be was rarely given much credence in the '60s. And it was well into the '80s before most psychotherapists understood that "borderline personality disorder" was the expectable result.
Miller has it down. Borderlines =are= little girls in adult bodies who fear... and rage... and need... and hate... and seduce... and abuse. And flip back and forth just as quickly as their emotional state of the moment demands. "Jody" may seem to be a little "cardboard" in her duplicity here, but hysteric borderlines often are. (Miller's "Jody" seems to be built on the most significant traits of the borderline personality described in the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual back in 1952.)
Too bad the film wasn't directed by Stanley Kubrick who did a better job with a better book about the same topic two years earlier. That one was called "Lolita."
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