Cast & Crew
One night, after trying to kill herself in the ocean, teenager Jill Bradley recuperates at a hospital and recalls events leading up to her attempted suicide: On her birthday, Jill returns home expecting to spend the evening with her parents, Frank and Alice, but finds that they have left her a birthday cake and gone out. Sad and lonely, Jill takes a walk and runs into her boyfriend, Larry Lindsay, who invites her for a drive. Later, Alice and Frank, a struggling insurance salesman, come home and immediately begin arguing about money. When Jill shows up, her parents scold her for staying out late and not doing the dishes. The next day at school, Jill's chemistry teacher, Miss Druten, expresses concern about recent changes in Jill's attitude and writes her mother a note about Larry. Alice is nonplussed by the note but becomes upset when she discovers that Jill has charged a new dress to her account. Although Alice, who has just bought a hair dryer for herself, demands that Jill return the dress, Frank tells Jill she can keep the outfit if she does her chores and stays in. Jill agrees, but as she is washing the dishes, Larry shows up and persuades her to accompany him to a roadhouse. There, Larry and Jill drink and talk about their relationship until the police arrive for an impromptu inspection. To avoid arrest for selling liquor to minors, the bartender ushers the teenagers into the cellar, where they spend several hours. Later, as a tipsy Jill tries to sneak up to her bedroom, she knocks over the hair dryer, waking her parents. Smelling liquor on her breath, Frank angrily orders Jill to return the dress, which Jill had purchased for a school dance, and forbids her to attend the event. Aware that her parents will be out for the night, Jill borrows a dress from her friend, Susan Tanner, and goes to the dance anyway. Soon after arriving, Larry talks Jill into going with him to a fancy restaurant, where he lies to the waiter that Jill is his sister and that they are waiting for their parents. Larry orders ginger ale for himself and Jill, and a bottle of champagne for his "parents," then surreptiously switches the two drinks. The teenagers dance and drink until closing, then go to Larry's empty house. There, Jill and Larry kiss and confess their love for each other, and Jill talks about marriage until Larry passes out. The next day at school, Larry avoids Jill, then confesses to her that his mother found him on the couch and called Jill a tramp. Jill tries to convince Larry that only their love matters, but he ends the romance. At home, Jill tries to talk to her mother about her problems, but Alice is too busy preparing for her canasta club to offer much solace. Instead, Alice recommends that Jill forget about Larry and start seeing other boys. Jill takes her mother's advice and, although her dates are innocent, soon acquires a reputation at school. Humiliated and confused, Jill attacks one girl who insults her and is called to the principal's office. Later, after he has been summoned by the principal, Frank yells at Jill and reveals that the principal told him that she was not "nice." Frank slaps Jill, and she runs out of the house in tears. Jill then goes to Susan's house, but Susan informs her that her parents have forbidden her to see Jill. Distraught, Jill wanders off, ending up at the beach. Back in the present, Jill's doctor tells Frank and Alice about the attempted suicide before sending Jill home from the hospital. Guilt-ridden, Frank tries to throw a surprise party for his depressed daughter, but finds that none of her friends will come. Hoping to cheer Jill up, Frank takes her to the roadhouse, where the two of them win a dance contest. Jill's fun soon ends when a drunken Larry accosts her, then unaware that Frank is her father, tells him his date is "dirty." Enraged, Frank slams Larry into the bar, cracking his skull. Frank is arrested for assault and battery, but orders Jill not to say anything in his defense. Frank refuses to reveal why he hit Larry and is found guilty. As the judge is about to sentence him, Jill insists on testifying, risking her own reputation to clear her father. Convinced that Frank was provoked, the judge acquits him, and Frank tells Jill how proud he is of her. Alice finally realizes how neglectful she has been and tearfully pleads her daughter's case to Susan's parents. That night, Alice surprises both Frank and Jill when all of Jill's friends show up at their house, eager to offer their love and support.
Albert S. D'agostino
Walter E. Keller
On the Loose (1951)
Directed by Charles Lederer, with a screenplay by Katherine Albert and Dale Eunson, based in an original story by Collier Young and Malvin Wald, On the Loose was clearly a "B" picture, filmed when the careers of Douglas and Bari (who had been perpetually doomed to playing mean girls at 20th Century-Fox) were in decline. Made by Ida Lupino and Collier Young's The Filmakers production company, who had also produced Beware, My Lovely (1952), Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951) and Outrage (1950), the film was shot at and released by RKO Studios. The exterior scenes of Central High School were filmed on location at Beverly Hills High School, and 17-year-old Marilyn Hendrickson, a senior at Hollywood High School, was hired by the studio as a consultant to make sure that the dialogue and the sets were real to life. Thanks to Hendrickson, the script was changed to reflect 1951 idioms. Cars were no longer "jalopies" but "rods" or "bombs", a handsome guy was "terrific, great or swell" instead of the passé "dreamy," and "shake a leg" was replaced with "let's shove" and "best we go." Hendrickson advised the prop man that dolls and school pennants in Jill's room wouldn't sit well with contemporary audiences because she only had "one panda bear and no pennants" in her own room.
Despite The Filmakers and Lederer's efforts to be hip and relevant, On the Loose was not popular with critics when it was released on September 28, 1951. Cue: The Weekly Magazine of New York Life called it "Routine, superficial." Melvyn Douglas' movie career had become too routine for him, so On the Loose would be his last film for nine years. He would move into television for the rest of the decade, as would Lynn Bari and Joan Evans. A few years later, James Dean would come on the scene and make teenage angst an art form.
http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/2012/09/on-loose-1951-film-locations.html Handsaker, Gene "Not Hep Now to Say Man is 'Dreamy'" Daytona Beach Morning Journal 30 Mar 51
The Internet Movie Database
"Joan 'On the Loose'" The News 10 Jul 52
By Lorraine LoBianco
On the Loose (1951)
The working title of this film was The Restless Age. The opening credits are preceded by shots of a beach at night, accompanied by a voice-over narration spoken by Lynn Bari. Bari discusses the plight of troubled teenagers and the forces that drive them to suicide. According to Hollywood Reporter, Don Weis was to direct the film and Czenzi Ormonde was to co-write the screenplay with producer-writer Malvin Wald, following two weeks of research in juvenile court. Ormonde's contribution to the completed film, if any, has not been determined. Hollywood Reporter announced in late August 1950 that Mala Powers was to star in the picture.
The Filmakers and RKO borrowed Joan Evans from Samuel Goldwyn's company. Evans' real-life parents, Dale Eunson and Katherine Albert, wrote the film's screenplay. According to a June 1951 New York Times item, producer Collier Young and his then wife, actress-director Ida Lupino, who co-owned The Filmakers, talked with four Los Angeles teenagers about their lives, seeking advice from them on how typical high schoolers talk, think, dress and act. On the Loose marked Melvyn Douglas' last film until the 1962 Allied Artists picture Billy Budd (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1951-60).