10 February 2021 | MartinHafer
Don't be a model or you'll end up with the dreaded mystery illness!
"Secrets of a Model" is an exploitation film from 1940 and like other exploitation movies of the era, it promises far more sleaze and sex than it actually delivers. If you look at the photo posted on IMDB or the DVD cover, you see very scantily clad women...and the IMDB picture uses phrases like "laying bare" and "can a beautiful model stay pure?". Well, don't believe the hype...it's really just cheap gimmicks to get folks into the theaters.
The amazing thing about this film is that it was made so quickly and cheaply. IMDB says the film was made in six days and at a little over $10,500 to make! And, I'm sure most of this budget went to pay Sam Newfield, a very prolific director who specialized in making economical movies and TV shows....many of which are quite good.
The story begins at a drive-in restaurant and concerns a group of female car-hops...waitresses who serve the customers in their vehicles. It's hard work and doesn't pay all that well. But Rita thinks she might have an opportunity when a regular customer offers her easy work that pays well. For a while, it works out great...and Rita is happy and in love with the guy.
However, this 'nice guy' is a real jerk and soon he gets her drunk and has his way with her. After this, she finds herself alone...and he won't return any of her phone calls. The weird thing is that now she seems to have a mystery illness...and exactly what it is you never know. It's definitely NOT pregnancy nor an STD, as this mystery illness makes her faint and eventually results in her being hospitalized. Again...there's no real indication what she had or has...and it seems to be some vague consequence of her foolish behavior. What's next? See the film.
While the title would make you think that the film is about evil modeling agencies that get women to strip, the modeling Rita does is very innocent and the plot actually is about date rape. Of course, back in 1940, they'd never get away with talking about rape, so the situation is very vague and filled with false information. The whole mystery illness aspect is really confusing and silly.
So is it any good? Well, technically speaking it's pretty good for such a cheapo film, though the film's bizarre messages show very poor writing. And, instead of being sexy or salacious the whole thing is just confusing and odd.