Girl of the Night (1960)

Girl of the Night (1960), directed by Joseph Cates.

I wanted to see Anne Francis (1930-2011) again. She had a stressed beauty with both bright and dark sides.

Here she's a call girl with nice clothes and apartment, slavishly in love with her pimp boyfriend. Trade is getting rough and she thinks of suicide. Over many months a friendly shrink (Lloyd Nolan) helps her get out. This part is unexpectedly good and quite realistic: it takes a long time to acquire self-knowledge and self-respect. It's a lot of work getting away from the boyfriend and into another job and sticking with it.

It's a minor film but earnestly done. There are some fine scenes but the rest is like a standard B picture of the period, almost as if they had two different people on the camera.

A madam explains the paradox of prostitution: men pay for the illusion of love, but payment destroys the illusion. The trick is to get them to see the one and forget the other.

Francis clues in a new girl who is having qualms: "It only counts if you feel something."

Dramatic Sol Kaplan score. The story is based on a nonfiction bestseller.

Warner Archive title, available for rent from ClassicFlix. The disc label says "Remastered Edition" and the image is rather nice.