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  • In most juvenile delinquent films, the teens usually do something horrible or at least somewhat nasty. For most of this film, they stay out late and dance to the same song ("Get With It") in smokey clubs. And they yell at their Mom that she doesn't understand them. It isn't until near the very end that the Bad Boy (Kenneth Haigh) sets out to get money from an old aunt -- and when he steals it, she drops dead of a heart attack, no less! Talk about tame! There are far too many scenes of Mom Anna Neagle going "what will I do? why doesn't she obey me?". But it's a good-looking film courtesy of cinematographer Mutz Greenbaum (especially the club scenes) and Sylvia Syms shines as the Teenage Bad Girl in question. Also, Haigh is first-rate as the Bad Boy. So it's worth seeing, but don't expect real juvenile delinquents.
  • After two films with Errol Flynn, the acting producing husband and wife team of Anna Neagle and Herbert Wilcox decided to try a film with a more modern theme. Not that musical comedy star Neagle was about to rock and roll, but she could play the mother of a daughter who was into that crazy new beat.

    Teenage Bad Girl starts with Anna's daughter Sylvia Syms being a good girl. Syms is the oldest of two daughters to Neagle and she's pretty happy especially since she has a new man in her life, Norman Wooland. But Syms has met up with a new boy, a bad boy played by Kenneth Haigh who intrigues and excites her.

    Pretty soon she's spending all her time with him to the exclusion of family, school, other friends and Syms has Neagle properly worried. It all ends in a senseless tragedy.

    Teenage Bad Girl was no better or worse than some of the teen themed dramas that were starting to flood the market as the age of rock and roll dawned on this side of the pond. I'm sure it made some good money for the Wilcox/Neagle team although it certainly wasn't a typical Anna Neagle product. She and Wilcox would be leaving the big screen shortly and concentrating on British television.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I never would have watched 'My Teenage Daughter' if it hadn't been made by Herbert Wilcox and Dame Anna Neagle. This husband/wife team (he as director, she as star) churned out a long series of highly profitable British films, most of which were earnest period dramas. 'My Teenage Daughter', made in 1956, is very much of its time, and tries hard to make some earnest statements about the disaffected youth of the Fifties. Unfortunately, the end result is more like one of those Ed Wood exploitation movies about reform-school girls gone wild. This movie tries hard to be 'with it' but is clearly Without It. This movie is similar to 'Reefer Madness': it deals with a genuine problem in society, but fails to address that problem honestly.

    Sylvia Syms (whom I've never liked) plays 17-year-old Janet, who drops out of business school to spend all her time with Tony (Kenneth Haigh), a teddy-boy spiv. The booze and the wild parties are a bad influence on her, but the fatal corruption occurs when he takes her to a dance-hall where she learns how to dance 'jive'. Well, once a teenage girl dances 'jive', her soul is beyond all redemption.

    Tony casually murders his aunt to get money to finance his wild sprees. (What will he do for money when he runs out of aunts?) Tony is such a bad influence on Janet, he soon has her yelling at her mother (shock! horror!) from inside a gaol cell. Jan's mum Valerie is played by Anna Neagle, which is part of the problem in this film: the main characters are clearly meant to be Janet and Tony, but the focal character is Valerie.

    SPOILERS COMING: Eventually, Janet is hauled up before a magistrate, played by senile Major Gowen from 'Fawlty Towers'. Tony comes to a bad end (no surprise!), and Jan learns her lesson after having committed only a few misdemeanours. 'We mustn't ever lose each other again,' says Valerie to her daughter in a tear-stained reunion. Oh, blimey! Naturally, this film takes the line that parents want to hear: namely, *your* kids aren't bad, it's that *other* lot they've got in with (such as Tony) who are the real problem. And parents always know best, of course. (No comment.)

    Matters are not helped by a leering undertone throughout 'My Teenage Daughter'. The film takes a moralistic stance, but it invites us to take a voyeuristic look at all the stuff that happens to teen girls gone wild. Wilfrid Hyde-White is good in a supporting role, as Janet's respectable employer before she goes off the rails. I'll rate this movie 4 points out of 10. It's a very revealing artefact of the 1950s, but not for the reasons that its makers intended.
  • MartinHafer12 March 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Despite the title, this really isn't a sleazy exploitation film but more a drama from the UK about a teenage girl gone amok. It's actually reasonably well made but also VERY frustrating to watch. That's because the teen in the film goes from being a nice kid to a nasty little monster--and yet, after treating those around her like garbage, the film blames the mother and ends on that note! There's even a scene when the judge blames the mother---and no one seems to place any responsibility on the teen running around with a delinquent boyfriend. And, at times, the teen says horrible things to her mother, sneaks out of the house at night and is completely incorrigible and just plain mean. Sure, the mother probably should have filed charges against this idiot kid but the 'kid' is 17--old enough to accept most of the blame herself for messing up her life. Too often you hear lines like "..that poor, poor child..."--and it made me want to scream! And all this followed her being arrested as an accomplice after the boyfriend kills someone! She is no victim here--just a horrible person who is more in need of jail or a rap in the mouth than sympathy (no, I am NOT really advocating the rap in the mouth...)! Frustrating and dumb--this film ALMOST was watchable had it ended better. As it is, the film fails to deliver on a coherent message or as entertainment.
  • malcolmgsw20 January 2019
    5/10
    Twee
    The first problem with this film is that Sylvia Simms does not look or act like a 16 year old and Anna Neagle is about 10 years too old for her part.The second is that the fact that the film doesn't really acknowledge that teenagers as a group had arrived.Everything about this film is old fashioned.You think of all the American films coming out at this time with Dean,Presley etc and this film feels like it was made in the thirties.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm in a bit of a quandary here. I agree with all the previous reviewers, even the one who rubbished the film as well as those who gave it reasonably high marks. The only disagreement I had with any of the reviewers was with the one who praised Wilfrid Hyde-White's performance. (IMDb is of the opinion that that is not the way to spell "Wilfrid" but that is the spelling employed on the good quality Alpha DVD). I had the impression that Hyde-White was re- dubbing his lines as they seemed to be slightly out of sync. Or maybe he had mistakenly walked slightly out of range of the mike, but the producer-director Herbert Wilcox was forced to use the take anyway.

    One also gets the impression that the movie was headed for a sweetness-and-light conclusion, when it was suddenly realized that the teen-age girl (superbly played by Sylvia Syms - was this her first movie?) was not such a bad girl after all, so a murderous conclusion was fabricated involving her boyfriend. But Sylvia still has nothing to do with the murder, so she's not really a bad girl at all. The only thing bad about her was that she occasionally talks back to her mother - drearily played by Ann Neagle. (I always thought her name was Anna Neagle, but the cover designer of the excellent Alpha DVD thinks otherwise). The cover designer has also used the film's front-of- house shot of Sylvia Syms looking both sultry and available, even though she doesn't appear anything like so so flamboyantly in the movie itself.
  • funkyfry20 January 2001
    This is one of the worst movies I've seen, and that's saying a lot. Ruminations on "Rebel Without a Cause", but they could have called this movie "Film without a Director." It was so completely boring that it was almost unbelievable. They used the same annoying song five times (at least) in the movie. "Get with it!" says the song. Indeed. Do not not not get with this movie. ever.
  • Started to watch this and realised the story is the same it just the times change... A good film for its genre at time of making...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sylvia Syms was no starlet - from the first (and "My Teenage Daughter was her first role) she had leads and good ones. "My Teenage Daughter" (for probably publicity reasons changed to "Teenage Bad Girl" for American distribution) was a prestigious Herbert Wilcox production and starring his wife, the legendary Anna Neagle. He had seen Syms in a television play and thought she would be ideal as the rebellious Jan. Sylvia remembered Anna and Herbert with so much affection - while her salary wasn't big they gave her every luxury, built up her part as the film progressed and then at the end Anna insisted on her having equal billing. She was overwhelmed by their kindness. Herbert Wilcox, he of the sparkling musicals and sophisticated romances of the 30s and 40s, probably felt the need to get "with it" in the 1950s and put his name to this quite good j.d. movie of 1956.

    Jan (Syms) seeming to belong to an ideal family (hard working single mother, cute sister, doting aunt and a frisky dog) goes to her first party in a dress her mother scrimped and saved for. Here she meets Tony, an older sophisticate who sweeps her off her feet by taking her to clubs and introducing her to coffee, jive and dry martinis. In the meantime mum Val (Neagle) is working her way up the corporate ladder and is given a promotion as editor of the new "Teen Age" magazine. She really hasn't a lot of time for her daughter but is still horrified when Jan arrives at the launch party in a sophisticated cocktail dress from her mother's wardrobe with Tony, who is obviously a spiv, in tow. Kenneth Haigh gives a very taut and true performance as the troubled Tony and it stood him in good stead as he went straight into the West End production of "Look Back in Anger" originating the role that Richard Burton later played in the movie.

    From now on it's a case of one step forward, two steps back as Val tries to recapture the elusive bond that she once shared with Jan. Fortunately she has found Hugh (Norman Wooland) who even though single has an understanding of rebellious youth who have had their young lives torn apart because of the war. For an instant Tony shows a softer side but then he is heavied by thugs wanting money that he owes them. Jan is confidant that she can get the money but when she becomes involved in a massive row with her mum, they take off towards Tony's Aunt Louisa and a date with destiny......

    No, she wasn't a bad girl but the film was originally "My Teenage Daughter" which makes more sense and the mother definitely wasn't bad although she got a dressing down from the judge at the end. The irritating thing about a few of these movies ("Cosh Boy" ect) is the presumption that a dependable man is going to be the answer!!

    Very Recommended.