Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 7:30pm
Child Bride (aka Child Bride of the Ozarks)
Harry J. Revier, 1938, 16mm, 62 mins
Archival print courtesy of the UCLA Film and Television Archive
Introduced by Emma Brenner-Malin and Joshua Solondz
Unafraid to probe the darkest corners of American society, Light Industry whisks you back to the exotic Ozarks of the 1930s, to the backwards life of simple hillbilly folk untouched by modern industry—or contemporary morals. Let us show you an era when lust was called just, when any blossoming prepubescent could be seized by throngs of men thrice her age (or more!) for a life without education or opportunity. See the fight for progressive reform to protect our youth from perverts, mongoloids, and midgets! See moonshiners and bootleggers scrabbling for survival in the Great Depression! See the film once advertised as "sexsational" and an expose of "young victims of men's desire!" See—Child Bride!
Exploitation pioneer Kroger Babb--notorious promoter of the classic "hygiene film" Mom and Dad and distributor of drug cautionary She Shoulda Said No--produced and released Child Bride in 1938 on a skid-row budget of $2,400 dollars. Shirley Mills debuts as the 12 year-old Jennie Colton. Angelo Rossitto of Freaks and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome fame appears as Angelo the dwarf.
"The last film directed by Revier, who began his career as the head of a small cinema lab around 1915, is a totally independent production, in the tradition of the sex comedies of the period (which, to today’s eyes, seem quite tame). It concerns the marriage of two 13-year-old children in a remote and probably fictitious corner of America. Through wide and long shots, the film works toward an aesthetics of transparency, of evidence, of nudity, one founded on luminous cinematography that makes everything seem effortless and limpid. The director seems to have nothing to do with the action and this helps compensate for the scandalous aspects of the story. One thinks of the Preminger of Exodus or of Mizoguchi’s Princess Yang Kwei Fei. This mysterious film, which does not even appear in the Catalog of Copyright Entries (the listing fee would’ve cost too much), serves as a litmus test for determining whether the person you’re talking to is a true cinephile."
- Luc Moullet
“The most atrocious thing I ever saw.”
– Mildred Horn, Kroger Babb’s wife
Emma Brenner-Malin and Joshua Solondz are interns at Light Industry.
Tickets - $7, available at door.