Cast & Crew
Carlyle Moore Jr.
High school student Beth Andrews' father Will refuses to allow her to attend a dance with fellow classmate Phil. With the help of the family's housekeeper, Sarah, Beth is able to sneak past Will and his obedient wife Jane. Later, when Jane learns about the scandalous behavior of a group of students, she refuses to let Beth go on any dates, so Beth sneaks out again, this time to attend a barn dance with Phil. After Beth and Phil walk past several necking couples, they find their own quiet spot underneath some trees. In June, a new teacher, Carl Bryson, arrives, but when Jane and several parents find out that he is lecturing on moral and physical health, they have him dismissed. Meanwhile, Beth informs her brother Rob of her tryst with Phil and her "condition." Trusting Bryson, Rob turns to him for help, and he gives Rob the name of a doctor in a neighboring town who can help Beth. Meanwhile, Beth becomes gravely ill and requires surgery. Jane is embarrassed by the scandal, but Bryson, who has continued to support Beth, tells Jane that she should be ashamed of her failure to tell her daughter the things that she really needed to know. After learning of Beth's illness, Phil arrives and proposes to her. Bryson is reinstated at the school and continues to urge his students to seek the confidence of their parents.
Carlyle Moore Jr.
Frank La Rue
Although Beth is clearly presumed to be pregnant in the film, at no point in the print viewed was her "condition" specified. High School Girl was released on a state rights basis after production in April 1934. Although the film was labeled "morally inoffensive" by Hollywood Reporter, Motion Picture Herald noted that it had been condemned by the Legion of Decency, and the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that producer Bryan Foy believed that resorting to shocking subject matter was the only commercially viable route for an independent filmmaker. In 1935, the film was picked up for release by Columbia Pictures Corp., providing it finally received a Code seal, which it did. Columbia renamed the film Lady Beware, a title that had been intended for another film being produced by the studio. No other information on the Columbia release of the film has been found.
The Foy release became an early test case for the issue of whether a Production Code seal implied actual approval of the subject matter, or merely recognition that it did not violate Code rules. State censor boards were still ruling on the picture in 1937, and traces of its release can be found as late as 1949. Numerous complaints were made that a reconstructed version of the film was in release, and censorship boards would not certify that the version that was presented for their final approval had incorporated cuts mandated earlier. At least two different versions of approximately the same length exist in archives, one of them reflecting cuts made by censors. Although the viewed print includes a 1934 copyright statement, the title is not listed in the copyright register.
The Exhibitor, on January 15, 1938, reviewed a "three part sex show," which, they reported, a staff member saw in a "non-censor state." A film entitled Forbidden was presented as the first part of the "sex education show." The Exhibitor noted similarities in the story of Forbidden to High School Girl. As Crane Wilbur is listed as director of both films, it is possible that Forbidden was a re-release of the earlier film. The Exhibitor described Forbidden as "a fast moving flaming youth tragedy of a high school girl whose sex education is neglected by a clubwoman mother. There are the usual hot spot visits, with moonlight rides with a classmate sweetheart, ending in the obstetrical ward through the aid of a teacher who has stirred prudish parents with efforts to teach sex hygiene. Ending has a moral lesson for all." The Exhibitor further noted that part two of the show was devoted to a sex book sales talk and book sale, and that part three showed details of "natural birth, caesarean birth, then various, advance stages of two social diseases followed by insane asylum inmates, hereditary victims."
According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, actress Treva Scott was the queen of the 1934 Tournament of Roses and was a student at Pasadena High School at the time of production. Another Hollywood Reporter news item states that director Crane Wilbur gave screen tests to high school students Pauline True, Maurice Murphy and June Earle, however, their participation in the final film has not been confirmed.