Man Crazy

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Drama, USA, 1953, 79 min.

Tagline It's Bold! Blunt! Brutal!

Synopsis In Phillipstown, a small town in Minnesota, two teenage girls, Millie Pickett and Georgia Daniels, hang out in an old-fashioned drugstore where their friend, Judy Bassett, works at the soda fountain. The drugstore is doing poor business as a modern chain store has opened across the street, and the owner, Webster T. Duncan, has consequently started a sideline business involving the illegal sale of corn liquor. When his supplier wants to raise his prices, Webster decides to find another source and one Friday asks Judy to close up at the end of the day, telling her he will return on Monday. Judy knows about the liquor stored in the backroom and allows Millie to break in. After consuming some of the liquor, they find a cigar box containing $28,000, Webster's tax-free proceeds and savings from his secret business. The girls decide to use the money for a trip and, that evening, take a bus and then a plane to Hollywood. When Webster returns and discovers that his money has been stolen, he suspects the girls but is unable to report the theft to the police due to the illegal means used to acquire the cash. Webster recalls that Judy is one of a family of nine and he regards Millie as "fast." When he visits Georgia's house, he finds her mother drunk and a note from Georgia to her mother stating that she has gone to Hollywood with the others. Webster borrows a photo of the three girls and leaves by car for Los Angeles as he cannot afford the airfare. Meanwhile, the girls are busy spending Webster's cash on a sports car, shoes and clothes, as well as on sightseeing around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. They also rent an eleven-room, furnished Beverly Hills house, with heated pool, and a live-in caretaker, Paul Wocynski, who lives in the guest house. Paul is a former college football hero, now an agricultural student, and Georgia immediately expresses considerable interest in him. When Webster arrives in Los Angeles, he checks into a cheap hotel and plans how to find the girls. Georgia has lied to Paul that her father is a banker and, on a date, Paul takes her to the Los Angeles Coliseum where he played football before being forced to retire because of injury. Paul tells her that he wants a secure future, but bemoans the cost of his studies. Meanwhile, Millie and Judy have gone to a movie theater and have been picked up by two young men, Ray and Steve. However, when Judy objects to Steve's roving hands and screams, the girls return home. Judy says that she wants to go back to Phillipstown, but Millie is intent on staying. Georgia, who is holding the money, is afraid of losing Paul, and they argue about their respective futures. Later, Paul takes Georgia to the Ventura walnut grove, where he also works. Paul would like to buy the ranch from its owner, Mrs. Becker, and Georgia wonders if she would accept a $10,000 down payment. When Paul asks that her father be informed of any financial arrangement, Georgia confesses that her father is not a banker, is estranged from his family and works in a factory in Des Moines. She then reveals the true source of the money, and Paul insists that she return it to the druggist. Meanwhile, as Judy meets Bob, a neighbor, Millie and Ray become involved in a bar brawl, and the bar's owner demands payment for the damage. They return to the house to look for the money and are strong-arming Judy when Georgia returns with Paul, who slugs Ray and throws him out. Later, Paul again advises Georgia to go home, but as he will not go with her, she begs him not to leave her and convinces him to buy the walnut ranch. Webster, who has made no progress in finding the girls and is running short of money and patience, has been showing their photo to numerous car agencies. One day, after a mechanic who has been servicing their car, tips off Judy that a man is looking for them, the girls panic and argue. Millie leaves and, although Georgia tells Judy that she and Paul are getting married and that she can stay with them, Judy states that she wants to be with Bob. By coincidence, Webster visits the bar where Millie and Ray had the brawl, and finds out that they have gone to Las Vegas. As Webster drives there, he finds them in a broken-down car on their way back and demands his money. After Ray tells him that they lost $6,000 in Las Vegas, he runs off, wanting no part of the trouble. When Webster tells Millie that he just wants his money back, and will even pay their rail fare back home, she helps him to find the others at the ranch. Webster explains his situation to Paul, and Paul agrees to repay him, but says that it will take years. Paul returns to his work of knocking walnuts off trees from a high platform, but Webster follows him, threatening to call the police even if it incriminates him. They struggle on the platform, and Paul falls off onto a metal plow and is killed. Later, Webster is arrested by the police and serves five years for manslaughter and three for tax evasion. The girls serve a year in jail and later drift back to Hollywood. There Millie hangs out in front of a cheap bar, while Georgia finds work in a handbag factory. Judy gets a steady job in a five-and-dime store and writes to Bob. They meet, and begin again.

Directed by Irving Lerner  

Starring Neville Brand, Christine White, Irene Anders, Colleen Miller, John Brown, more...

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