Jail Bait (1954) Reviewed

Not THAT kind of jailbait.

Not THAT kind of jailbait.

JAIL BAIT (1954)
Easily the most competent movie Wood ever directed, complete with a third-act plot twist that damn near works. Most genre fans will be disappointed to learn that the title refers to guns rather than girls, but I was able to work past that quick enough. Steve Reeves of Hercules fame makes a tepid debut here, but sub-par screen charisma is kind of expected in a Wood film. The perfect case-in-point is long-time Wood girlfriend, Dolores Fuller, whom consistently turns in some of the least convincing line deliveries known to man. Jail Bait, for all its competence, is still pretty dull, especially by Wood standards. This was supposed to be Wood’s crime epic but The Violent Years (of which he’s the screenwriter) is far more torrid, salacious and entertaining. Rhino’s video release pointlessly replaces some stock footage of burlesque black-face buffoonery with stock footage of a burlesque bump-n-grind stripper. Because of the change the movie gets slapped with the label: Director’s Cut. Quite a feat when you consider Wood died 20 years before this eye-rollingly PC edit.
**

~ by Number5ive on November 30, 2008.

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