The Green-Eyed Blonde


1h 16m 1957
The Green-Eyed Blonde

Brief Synopsis

Reform school girls trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Film Details

Also Known As
Blonde and Dangerous, Greeneyes, Tender Fury
Genre
Drama
Crime
Prison
Release Date
Dec 14, 1957
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 11 Dec 1957
Production Company
Arwin Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 16m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

On the same day that Margaret Wilson joins the staff of Martha Washington School for Girls in Southern California, a miserable and taciturn Betsy Abel, who claims to hate her mother, is "committed." Mrs. Nichols, the unsympathetic head of the institution, tells Maggie that Betsy, who she calls "the little criminal," refuses to name the father of her illegitimate, two-month-old son. A twenty-three-year veteran of the institution, Nichols believes that the girls are beyond help, but Maggie empathizes with Betsy's suffering and tries to comfort her. In her cottage dormitory, Betsy's roommates welcome her into their fold and the maternal Trixie Budlong, the daughter of an absent sailor and recently deceased mother, tells Betsy that their motto is "Best buddies por vida ." The other girls have all suffered from broken homes, alcoholic parents and little love: the competent and helpful Ouisie; the undependable Joyce, who wants to be a movie star; mentally ill Cuckoo, who is prone to erratic behavior; and Greeneyes, who will be released in four weeks. Greeneyes is engaged to her paroled boyfriend, Cliff Munster, who plans to "stay clean." Late that night, alerted by a written message Betsy brought in from the outside, Greeneyes sneaks to the fence to meet Cliff, who reports that he has a job with a trucking firm. On Sunday, Betsy's alcoholic mother, Sally Abel, and Sal's boyfriend, Ed, a taxi driver with a police record, visit her. While Ed cringes behind her, Sal pleads with Betsy to name the father so that he can be made to help pay for the baby, unaware that Ed fathered the boy. Irked by Betsy's reticence, Sal threatens to send the baby to an orphanage. The eavesdropping Cuckoo, hearing Sal say that the unwanted baby is in the back seat of the car, "rescues" and hides him. Ed and Sal drive off without first checking on the baby and when they later discover he is missing, Sal tells Betsy that they found a nice home for him. When the other girls learn about the boy, they rally to prevent him from being sent to an orphanage. They also protect Cuckoo, who they assume will be sent to a mental asylum for kidnapping the baby. Although Betsy's confused feelings about the child drive her to remain aloof, the others, touched by the unwanted child, organize themselves to watch over the boy, whom they name "Buddy" after their motto. Hiding him in the closet, they raid the pantry for canned milk and tear up sheets for diapers. The girls in the other dormitories also help hide his presence by singing to cover his cries and distracting the staff. Eventually, Betsy's motherly instincts take over and she, too, takes care of him. Anticipating a "real Christmas" because the baby is there, the girls make gifts for him. The staff is mystified by the sudden high morale and good behavior of the girls. Although they are puzzled by missing sheets and canned milk, as well as the singing at unusual times, they are pleased to note that there has been no need for disciplinary actions, thus resulting in less work for them. Only Maggie can see the good in the girls and tries to interact with them. During a conversation, she tells them how she was left on the steps of an orphanage as an infant and was raised in an institution until she got a job at age sixteen. One day Maggie discovers Buddy and is torn between her responsibility and her sympathy for the plight of the child and the girls' rare happiness. When she compromises by deciding to do nothing until after Christmas, the girls agree to turn him over the day after. However, during Maggie's day off, Ouisie is seen by a staff member burying dirty diapers and, although Greeneyes tries to hide Buddy, she is caught and the baby taken away. Later when orphanage personnel drive away with the baby, Cuckoo screams to alert the girls. An institution-wide riot ensues, in which the girls destroy property and try to escape. After the police restore order, Nichols questions Greeneyes and Betsy, but neither will tell who originally abducted the child. Nichols extends Greeneyes' term six months and then considers having Buddy taken from Betsy permanently. Although their pain is acute, both girls refuse to turn in Cuckoo. After confessing that she knew about the child, Maggie begs mercy from Nichols on behalf of the girls, recalling how they gained dignity by caring for the boy. Unmoved, Nichols claims that nothing can really change the girls. Maggie points out that Greeneyes has turned her life around and has plans to marry. When she argues that keeping Greeneyes another six months "will kill her," Nichols says that only punishment achieves results and that the girls are "durable." On Christmas Eve, Trixie's father, a loving man who has moved to town to give her a home, arrives to pick her up. Greeneyes, unwilling to wait six more months, sends a note to Cliff through Trixie. That night, she climbs over the fence to freedom, where Cliff waits with a stolen car. Maggie and the girls gather around the Christmas tree, where Betsy unwraps their presents for Buddy and promises herself that next year, she and Buddy will have a real Christmas together. On the radio, they hear a news bulletin reporting that Cliff and Greeneyes were killed while trying to evade the police, who were pursuing their stolen car.

Film Details

Also Known As
Blonde and Dangerous, Greeneyes, Tender Fury
Genre
Drama
Crime
Prison
Release Date
Dec 14, 1957
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 11 Dec 1957
Production Company
Arwin Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 16m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Articles

The Green-Eyed Blonde -


The Green-Eyed Blonde (1957), one of many exploitative "women in prison" films popular in the 1940s and 50s, was directed by Bernard Girard from a screenplay credited to Sally Stubblefield. Although Stubblefield was an editor in the Warner Bros. story department, she did not write the script. Instead, she acted as a front for the film's actual writer, Dalton Trumbo, a victim of the blacklist by the House Un-American Activities Committee which banned those in the entertainment industry accused of communist sympathies. It was a difficult time for Trumbo, but, unlike many others similarly blacklisted, he continued to work prolifically, often writing several scripts at the same time with help from fronts like Stubblefield.

While Stubblefield did not write The Green-Eyed Blonde, she did come up with the original concept, which she based on her own experience as a recreational director at a girl's correctional institution in Los Angeles. Having seen firsthand what really went on in such a school, she felt that the environment was ripe for story possibilities. Stubblefield took Trumbo to visit the institution, where he was able to find plenty of material to create the screenplay. A few months later, Trumbo's completed script was presented to Warner Bros. and The Green-Eyed Blonde went into production. Because Trumbo's name had to be kept off the credits, he could not be interviewed by the press to promote the film; Stubblefield substituted for him and was able to speak on the subject convincingly. Trumbo later wrote on the cover of his personal copy of the script, "This I wrote on the black market for Sally Stubblefield. It was produced at Warners by Marty Melcher and utterly ruined by the director [Girard]. Because Mr. Melcher published music he wrote a horrible song for the film called The Girl with the Green Eyes." Trumbo's reaction to the film must have come second-hand, as he reportedly never saw it. However, Trumbo would eventually have his writing credit restored to him by the Writers Guild in the decades after the Hollywood Blacklist ended.

The film had several working titles, including Tender Fury and Blonde and Dangerous. Produced by Melcher for Arwin Productions, Inc., The Green-Eyed Blonde was the only film produced by Melcher that did not star his wife, Doris Day. The final title, The Green-Eyed Blonde, was misleading. Although Susan Oliver's character was nicknamed "Greeneyes," she wasn't the main character of the film, just one of several girls incarcerated at the Martha Washington School for Girls, a juvenile institute in Southern California. Margaret Wilson (Sally Brophy) arrives at the school on her first day to find that the administrator, Mrs. Nichols (Jean Inness), is a cold, hard woman who has been at the school for 23 years but has little sympathy for the girls, like unwed mother Betsy (Linda Plowman). Betsy was secretly impregnated by her mother's boyfriend, Ed (Tom Greenway), but refuses to name her baby's father, despite threats from her mother, Sal (Anne Barton) to take him away. Cuckoo (Norma Jean Nilsson) a girl suffering from mental illness, learns that the baby is in the backseat of Sal's car and hides him in the school. The girls secretly care for the baby, who they call "Buddy," for two weeks until they are discovered and Buddy is taken away, which results in a riot. Greeneyes has another six months tacked onto her sentence at the school for refusing to tell the authorities that Cuckoo originally took Buddy, but she can no longer cope with more time at Martha Washington. Instead, Greeneyes escapes with her fiancé, a reformed drug addict and parolee, Clift Munster (Raymond Foster) who steals a car, which results in tragedy.

Sources:

Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel: A Critical Survey and Filmography by Peter Hanson (n.d.): Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=0g9eCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA127&dq=the+green-eyed+blonde+dalton+trumbo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiznKT8jOXiAhWJwFQKHVxTCn8Q6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=the%20green-eyed%20blonde%20dalton%20trumbo&f=false
Radical Innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten By Bernard F. Dick (n.d.): Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=mKAeBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA200&dq=the+green-eyed+blonde+dalton+trumbo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiznKT8jOXiAhWJwFQKHVxTCn8Q6AEILzAB#v=onepage&q=the%20green-eyed%20blonde%20dalton%20trumbo&f=false

By Lorraine LoBianco
The Green-Eyed Blonde -

The Green-Eyed Blonde -

The Green-Eyed Blonde (1957), one of many exploitative "women in prison" films popular in the 1940s and 50s, was directed by Bernard Girard from a screenplay credited to Sally Stubblefield. Although Stubblefield was an editor in the Warner Bros. story department, she did not write the script. Instead, she acted as a front for the film's actual writer, Dalton Trumbo, a victim of the blacklist by the House Un-American Activities Committee which banned those in the entertainment industry accused of communist sympathies. It was a difficult time for Trumbo, but, unlike many others similarly blacklisted, he continued to work prolifically, often writing several scripts at the same time with help from fronts like Stubblefield. While Stubblefield did not write The Green-Eyed Blonde, she did come up with the original concept, which she based on her own experience as a recreational director at a girl's correctional institution in Los Angeles. Having seen firsthand what really went on in such a school, she felt that the environment was ripe for story possibilities. Stubblefield took Trumbo to visit the institution, where he was able to find plenty of material to create the screenplay. A few months later, Trumbo's completed script was presented to Warner Bros. and The Green-Eyed Blonde went into production. Because Trumbo's name had to be kept off the credits, he could not be interviewed by the press to promote the film; Stubblefield substituted for him and was able to speak on the subject convincingly. Trumbo later wrote on the cover of his personal copy of the script, "This I wrote on the black market for Sally Stubblefield. It was produced at Warners by Marty Melcher and utterly ruined by the director [Girard]. Because Mr. Melcher published music he wrote a horrible song for the film called The Girl with the Green Eyes." Trumbo's reaction to the film must have come second-hand, as he reportedly never saw it. However, Trumbo would eventually have his writing credit restored to him by the Writers Guild in the decades after the Hollywood Blacklist ended. The film had several working titles, including Tender Fury and Blonde and Dangerous. Produced by Melcher for Arwin Productions, Inc., The Green-Eyed Blonde was the only film produced by Melcher that did not star his wife, Doris Day. The final title, The Green-Eyed Blonde, was misleading. Although Susan Oliver's character was nicknamed "Greeneyes," she wasn't the main character of the film, just one of several girls incarcerated at the Martha Washington School for Girls, a juvenile institute in Southern California. Margaret Wilson (Sally Brophy) arrives at the school on her first day to find that the administrator, Mrs. Nichols (Jean Inness), is a cold, hard woman who has been at the school for 23 years but has little sympathy for the girls, like unwed mother Betsy (Linda Plowman). Betsy was secretly impregnated by her mother's boyfriend, Ed (Tom Greenway), but refuses to name her baby's father, despite threats from her mother, Sal (Anne Barton) to take him away. Cuckoo (Norma Jean Nilsson) a girl suffering from mental illness, learns that the baby is in the backseat of Sal's car and hides him in the school. The girls secretly care for the baby, who they call "Buddy," for two weeks until they are discovered and Buddy is taken away, which results in a riot. Greeneyes has another six months tacked onto her sentence at the school for refusing to tell the authorities that Cuckoo originally took Buddy, but she can no longer cope with more time at Martha Washington. Instead, Greeneyes escapes with her fiancé, a reformed drug addict and parolee, Clift Munster (Raymond Foster) who steals a car, which results in tragedy. Sources: Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel: A Critical Survey and Filmography by Peter Hanson (n.d.): Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=0g9eCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA127&dq=the+green-eyed+blonde+dalton+trumbo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiznKT8jOXiAhWJwFQKHVxTCn8Q6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=the%20green-eyed%20blonde%20dalton%20trumbo&f=false Radical Innocence: A Critical Study of the Hollywood Ten By Bernard F. Dick (n.d.): Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=mKAeBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA200&dq=the+green-eyed+blonde+dalton+trumbo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiznKT8jOXiAhWJwFQKHVxTCn8Q6AEILzAB#v=onepage&q=the%20green-eyed%20blonde%20dalton%20trumbo&f=false By Lorraine LoBianco

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of the film were Greeneyes, Blonde and Dangerous and Tender Fury. A June 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item erroneously listed the title of the film as Tender Way. Sally Stubblefield's onscreen credit reads: "Written by Sally Stubblefield Associate Producer." According to an August 2000 Hollywood Reporter article, Stubblefield was a front for blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, whose credit was later restored to him by the Writers Guild of America. The article erroneously listed the film as a 1958 Republic picture. Actress Linda Plowman was listed as Melinda Plowman in the CBCS and Linda Reynolds in some Hollywood Reporter news items. Plowman acted under all three names. The Green-Eyed Blonde marked the only film produced by Martin Melcher in which his wife, Doris Day, did not perform. Although it is not explained overtly in the film, onscreen clues indicate that "Ed" fathered underaged "Betsy's" baby, possibly against her will.