Toys Are Not for Children


1h 25m 1972

Brief Synopsis

Jamie was raised by a bitter woman who never forgave her husband for leaving her and for his attraction to prostitutes. As a result of her twisted upbringing, Jamie grew up to be a prostitute herself, playing in infantile role with her johns and calling them "daddy." When a lesbian prostitute is rej

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jun 1972
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Jun 1972
Production Company
SHB Productions
Distribution Company
Headway Films, Inc.; Maron Films, Ltd.
Country
United States
Location
New York City, New York, United States; New York City, New York, United States; Ossining, New York, United States; Ossining, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m

Synopsis

In upstate New York, teenager Jamie Godard is masturbating while playing with her toy soldier when her mother Edna enters the bedroom and reacts in furious disgust, shouting that Jamie is just like her father Phillip. Phillip left the family when Jamie was six years old, after protracted, vicious arguments with Edna, who subsequently refused him any access to his daughter and taught Jamie that all men want only prostitutes. Over the years, he continues to send Jamie a doll on every birthday. As a result of his abandonment and her mother's psychological abuse, Jamie grows up to be frigid sexually and emotionally arrested in pre-adolescence. She finds work in a toy store owned by Max Geunther, where a coworker named Charlie Belmond is instantly attracted to her. One day, a patron named Pearl Valdi arrives and, impressed by Jamie's sweetness and innocence, invites her to visit her apartment in Manhattan. A while later, Jamie marries Charlie, but when he kisses her, she hears Edna's voice warning her that men are no good. On their wedding night, she is too afraid to have sex, and instead cuddles her soldier doll and asks a confused Charlie to tuck her in. Dreaming, she recalls the day she first visited Pearl: Pearl's boyfriend Eddie welcomes Jamie, but then tries to rape her. Pearl arrives and pulls Eddie off the girl, then fields a phone call from Edna, who has discovered Pearl's card in Jamie's room and now demands that Jamie come home. At their house, Edna screams at Jamie and reveals that Pearl is a prostitute who services Phillip. When Jamie protests, Edna throws her out. In the present, Charlie returns to the toy store days later and evades questions from Max about why he has returned early from his honeymoon. When he tries to explain to Max that Jamie seems to love her toys too much, Max defends her, stating that she is childlike and gentle. Later, an increasingly frustrated Charlie tells Jamie he cannot live surrounded by dolls and without having sex, but she parrots her mother's antagonistic words and spurns any attempts at conversation. Soon, Charlie is regularly visiting the local bar to pick up women. One night, Max spots him there and tries to dissuade him, but Charlie retorts that he "has needs." Going home, he tries to discuss the situation with Jamie but she refuses. When she once again rejects him sexually, she breaks down, hearing her mother's voice. She later visits Pearl again, who informs her that she once lived in Jamie's hometown but when she became pregnant out of wedlock, Edna and other local women ran her out of town. She counsels Jamie not to subsume herself in her marriage and offers to introduce her to big-city life. At a restaurant, a wide-eyed Jamie asks about her father and wonders if Pearl is a prostitute. Although Pearl reacts defensively, Jamie says she thinks the job is "wonderful" and begs Pearl to discuss Phillip, but Pearl quickly changes the subject. On another day, Charlie calls to say he will not be home that night, furious at her disinterest. Dressed attractively, she leaves to visit Pearl again, although she is frightened by the male attention she invites. At Pearl's, Eddie asks her in and reveals that he is Pearl's pimp. He then threatens to rape her and although she is scared, she says she cannot leave, and Eddie realizes that she hopes to gain access to Phillip. He taunts Jamie that "this life" excites her because it is what her father likes, and Jamie, agreeing, does not resist when he makes love to her. At home, Charlie leaves for a trip and Jamie once again recalls her father's abandonment, after which Edna told her he stopped loving them and was a bad man. Soon, Jamie, in a new shag haircut and minidress, has her first client, despite Pearl's pleas that she renounce prostitution. Meanwhile, Charlie, finding Jamie gone, looks for her at Edna's, where Edna informs him that Jamie is now a prostitute and gives him Pearl's card. Jamie is enjoying playful sex with clients whom she calls "daddy" when Charlie arrives at Pearl's and refuses to leave until he sees Jamie. He blames Pearl, who informs him that Jamie wants only her father, a drunken abuser. Jamie returns and Charlie tries to force himself on her, stating that he loves her, and although she asks him to leave, she is soon awash in memories of their courtship and her father, and makes love to Charlie. Afterward, however, she renounces him. She remembers Edna throwing her out of the house, after which Jamie, with nowhere else to go, moved in with Charlie. Soon after, Pearl begs Eddie to stop employing Jamie, but he refuses and rejects Pearl cruelly. Pearl approaches Jamie and, torn between love and anger, offers to support her. When Pearl makes sexual advances, however, Jamie rejects her tearfully, causing a vindictive Pearl to set up a date between the unsuspecting Jamie and Phillip. At Phillip's moldering hotel, a thrilled Jamie enters and calls him daddy. Pearl, regretful, tries to call to break up the date, but Phillip has canceled all calls. He treats her like a baby and she asks him to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight, and then, as they have sex, thinks of childhood scenes with her father. Afterward, he gives her a locket, and as he puts it on she mentions the toy soldier. Realizing with horror that she is actually his daughter, he orders her to leave and calls her a tramp. His cruel remark causes Jamie to have a mental breakdown and she pushes her father out the window to his death. As Eddie beats up Pearl, Jamie sinks, comatose and naked, into a corner.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jun 1972
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Jun 1972
Production Company
SHB Productions
Distribution Company
Headway Films, Inc.; Maron Films, Ltd.
Country
United States
Location
New York City, New York, United States; New York City, New York, United States; Ossining, New York, United States; Ossining, New York, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Several companies are thanked in the closing credits, including the Archie Stiles Toy Museum and the Watergate Motel. Although a February 1971 Daily Variety news item names Moonchild Productions as the film's production company, onscreen credits and reviews at the time of its release list director Stanley H. Brasloff's company, SHB Productions. The film jumps back and forth chronologically and includes several flashbacks and fantasy sequences. In some scenes, the action cuts back and forth between Jamie as a child and as an adult, illustrating her arrested development.
       As noted in contemporary reviews, Toys Are Not for Children was shot on location in Ossining and New York City, NY. News items variously relate that the film was finished in February or April 1971. Advertisements at the time of its release warned that no patron would be admitted to the film during its last twelve minutes.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1972

Released in United States 1972