Cast & Crew
Harry J. Revier
To a small mountain community where child marriage is widely accepted, comes schoolteacher Miss Carol, hoping to change the custom. Her efforts are opposed by the men who are married to child wives and even the children of those wives. Miss Carol enlists her fiancé Charles, an assistant district attorney, to lobby the state to pass legislation outlawing child marriage. Eleven-year-old Jennie Colton is blissfully dating Freddie Nulty, a boy her own age, unaware that she is coveted by Jake Bolby, her father's ex-partner who has lusted after the young girl ever since seeing her swim naked. One day, during an argument between Jennie's parents, Mr. Colton knocks his wife unconscious and Bolby then sneaks into the house and kills him. When Mrs. Colton regains consciousness, Bolby convinces her that she murdered her husband before losing consciousness. Bolby then promises to keep Mrs. Colton's murderous act a secret if she will award him Jennie's hand in marriage. Intimidated, Mrs. Colton agrees, and after the wedding, the newlyweds go the Bolbys' cabin to consummate their marriage. There, Angelo, a dwarf who loaths Bolby for his abusive behavior, shoots and kills him, thus freeing Jennie from her bonds of marriage. Jennie then promises to marry Freddie as soon as they reach adulthood. All ends happily as Charles arrives to inform his crusading fiancé that an anti-child marriage law has finally been passed.
Harry J. Revier
Photographer Marcel Le Picard's name is misspelled "Picard" in the onscreen credits of this film. Although the opening credits indicate that the film was copyrighted by Stern Fisher, the title was not included in the Catalog of Copyright Entries. The film contains the following written prologue: "Here is a page from the Book of Life...The characters are real people who live deep in the heart of Thunderhead Mountain. In dramatizing the life among these "back-yonder-folk," we aim neither to ridicule nor to defend their mode of living...and if our story will help to abolish Child Marriage it will have served its purpose." According to materials contained in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was denied a certificate of approval by the PCA because it dealt with child marriage, which the PCA deemed "a sexually abhorrent abnormality which violates all moral principles." Also objected to was the onscreen depiction of child nudity and the fact that the dwarf was never punished for murdering "Jake Bolby." Prior to the production of this film, several projects concerning the marriage of young children to "backwoods" adults were presented to the PCA for approval. In 1938, Columbia submitted a script for a film titled Abandoned, but Joseph Breen, the head of the PCA, persuaded the studio to abandon the project. In July 1938, Victory Production s submitted a script titled Child Wives. That project never reached fruition.