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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
Most juvenile delinquency films of the 1950s and early 60s were about the damage kids could inflict on themselves or their classmates. By 1964 America was perhaps subconsciously anticipating the fallout from being involved in Vietnam, and started to exhibit concern about youth's impact on the older generation. Kitten With A Whip may or not not have been Universal's answer to Paramount's Lady In A Cage, but both films convey the same message: the inmates are capable of taking over the asylum. By the end of the decade films like Wild In the Streets and Gas-s-s-s-s-s were taking this theme to its logical extreme.
Kitten With A Whip takes us on a surprisingly seedy tour of the youth underworld, and even though it's another conservative morality play with a happy ending, it serves as a valuable reminder of the social changes underway in the mid 60s. It's also incredibly entertaining.
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