- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
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Troubled beauty finds true love
This soap opera story was entrancing, and it used to be shown often on regular TV years ago, then only once or twice on TCM and has since disappeared. Too bad, it was quite a story and had many famous 60s actors and actresses in it, besides the leads Carroll Baker, George Maharis and Peter Lawford, so it is a surprise that it hasn't come to DVD or even prior to VHS by now. You have to really watch the movie unfold to be drawn into the dramatic story of unfortunate abused young Sylvia, who has nothing but bad breaks until she finally comes into money and can get out of her sordid lifestyle. Then such a sweet ending, that someone falls in love with her knowing all about her past, and accepts her as she is. Please bring this movie back TCM.
An all-time bad girl epic!
Sylvia's got the goods. It came just at the time when the Production Code was losing its grip, so it got to "go there" in ways that earlier bad girl films didn't, though it's by no means free of the euphemisms and coded references those films had to use. Private eye George Maharis is hired by wealthy Peter Lawford to look into the past of his fiance, Caroll Baker. A slim volume of her poems is his only clue, but it leads him to her childhood home and the librarian (Viveca Lindfors) who first encouraged Sylvia's interest in books about "a nice lady". Nice ladies quickly become a thing of the past as Sylvia is "interfered with" by stepfather Aldo Ray and leaves town with an itinerant preacher whose interest in her may be improper. They drift down to Mexico, where Sylvia takes up with an American salesman of women's clothing, while simultaneously impressing a local priest with her "goodness". She snags a ride back to the States with the salesman, dumps him, and becomes roomies with arcade worker Ann Southern, who tries to set Sylvia up with all the travelling businessmen who like to show a girl a good time. Sylvia makes her own good times by going into "business" with Joanne Dru. When Joanne is injured in a freak accident, Sylvia pays her hospital bills by going to work for a transvesite entertainer whose club is a front for an escort service. Sylvia "escorts" a client whose predilections are so out there that he can only point to a picture in a book. The encounter goes south, and the hush money she collects finances her transformation into AN AWARD-WINNING POETESS and grower of prize roses. (Yes, that is correct.) Private eye Maharis falls for her, of course, and she opts for an honest life with him. Yeah, I know, I'm a spoiler, but with a movie like this, you should know what you're getting into. The cameos by second-tier stars are fun, and things move along fairly quickly. If it sounds like your kind of thing, you won't regret watching this bad girl classic.
I watched this movie in 1990 on TCM and loved it. Unfortunately, I never got to see the ending. I am still waiting hoping it will get released on DVD. That's a long time to wait!