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Girls Town

Girls Town(1959)

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Fred Alger, a member of the hot-rod group known as the Jaguar Gang, takes a girl to a cliff side make-out spot near the group's beach house. The couple is startled by a scream, but when they see a blonde wearing a scarf being chased by Jag Gang member Chip Gardner, Fred merely laughs and ignores the girl's continued cries. Moments later, beyond sight of Fred's car, the girl continues fighting off Chip's advances until he slips off the cliff and tumbles to his death. Fred investigates and upon spotting Chip's body and the fleeing blonde, he immediately drives to the home of Silver Morgan, Chip's frequent date. Silver's younger sister Mary Lee tells Fred that Silver stood Chip up to go out with Stan Joyce, head of the rival gang, the Dragons. Fred rounds up members of the Jag Gang and confronts Silver at the Dragon's hangout, where he accuses her of pushing Chip to his death. Stan and the Dragons come to Silver's aid and a brawl ensues. At juvenile hall later, policeman Michael Clyde meets with Mother Veronica, the head of a church-run home for wayward girls called Girls Town. Clyde introduces Mother Veronica to pop singer Jimmy Parlow, who contacted his office after finding young Girls Town inmate Serafina Garcia waiting in a nightgown at his hotel room. Mother Veronica explains that Serafina is a lonely, sensitive orphan and asks Jimmy not to press charges. Jimmy agrees and, as a gesture to Serafina, promises to sing at Girls Town soon. The group is interrupted by the appearance of Mr. Gardner, who declares that Silver should be arrested for the death of his son Chip. Clyde points out that there is insufficient evidence to charge Silver. When Gardner angrily persists, Clyde decides that since Silver and Mary Lee are orphans living with an irresponsible aunt, he can place Silver at Girls Town where she will be under constant supervision while the investigation into Chip's death proceeds. Silver reluctantly submits to moving into Girls Town but upon arriving ridicules Sister Grace and Mother Veronica. Silver is assigned to room with Serafina and Vida, the covert leader of the girls. When Silver protests after Vida takes her cigarettes, Vida demonstrates her knowledge of judo, learned from her bouncer father. Later, Silver asks Serafina to be her partner against Vida and her sidekick Flo, and Serafina agrees. Silver initially refuses to participate in the Girls Town routine, but gradually begins attending vocational classes. One afternoon, Silver is approached by Dick Culdane, a delivery man, who asks her if she can sneak out for a date that evening. Silver meets Dave at a club that night, but his insistent questions about Chip's death rouse her suspicions and she realizes that he is a detective hired by Gardner. Back at Girls Town, Silver faces a mock trial during which Vida accuses her of flouting the system at the institution and jeopardizing the girls' understanding with the sisters. As punishment, the girls sentence Silver to clean the dance hall floor without help from Serafina. Silver is amazed and puzzled when Mother Veronica assists her. That weekend, Jimmy comes to sing at Girls Town for the dance, but Serafina grows despondent when he dances with several girls. Later, Serafina takes an overdose of sleeping pills but is discovered in time by Silver. Meanwhile, Dick takes Mary Lee to a drive-in to question her. Fred spots her there and notices that she is wearing a scarf. Frightened by Dick's probing, Mary Lee attempts to telephone Silver, who is delayed while caring for Serafina. Panicking, Mary Lee pleads with Fred for a ride to escape Dick. Fred complies but takes Mary Lee to a drag race between the Jag Gang and the Dragons. When Mary Lee attempts to flee, Fred reveals that he recognizes her as the girl with Chip when he died and threatens to turn her over to the police. Ignoring Mary Lee's explanations, Fred races against Stan, but near the end of the race, Stan's girlfriend panics and grabs the steering wheel, sending Stan's car over the embankment where it flips over. Fred and Mary Lee find Stan unconscious and all the racers flee, abandoning Mary Lee to the police, who arrive moments later. That afternoon, Mother Veronica informs Silver that Mary Lee is being held at juvenile hall and Silver frets over her inability to help. When Jimmy arrives later to speak with the recovering Serafina, his kindness irritates Silver, who criticizes him for his wealthy life of ease. Jimmy reveals he came from an orphaned, poor background, which is why he dedicates time to teens in similar conditions. Mollified, Silver asks Jimmy to help Mary Lee and he promises to go to juvenile hall. Jimmy returns later to inform Silver that Mary Lee was picked up by an unknown man, whose identity he has yet to discover. At the Jag Gang's beach house, Fred attempts to keep Mary Lee captive by telling her he will take her out of the country for her protection. Mary Lee manages to sneak out and, stealing Fred's car, drives to Girls Town where Mother Veronica allows her to meet Silver in private. Mary Lee confesses to going out with Chip that evening, but insists that his death was an accident. When Silver discovers Mother Veronica and Sister Grace have gone out, she decides to run away to help Mary Lee, but is stopped by Vida, Flo and the other girls. Meanwhile Fred and a cohort arrive at Girls Town and, spotting Fred's car, grab Mary Lee. Desperate when Vida and the others refuse to let her follow Mary Lee, Silver abruptly prays to the statue of St. Jude for help. Minutes later, Jimmy returns and Vida allows Silver to take his car. Silver drives to the beach house with Vida and Flo and, in an attempt to rescue Mary Lee, they attack Fred and his cohort. The fight is broken up by the arrival of Jimmy and Mother Veronica, after which Jimmy forces a confession from Fred about blackmailing Mary Lee. Shortly afterward, Silver is released from Girls Town and bids goodbye to Serafina who has decided to become a Novitiate. Thanking Mother Veronica for her guidance, Silver joins her sister and Jimmy.