In this classic teen-gone-bad flick from the early 50s the lovely Barbara Marks plays a heroine who's life is screwed up when she becomes addicted to drugs.
The story in brief: pert and pretty high-schooler Cassandra Lee dallies with a sleazy gang of pot-smoking bikers in order to avoid the demands of her neurotic and much-married career mom. When Cassandra's grades slip and her college plans go kapooey, she marries her high school sweetheart in frustration. However, the devotion of an upwardly-mobile, patient, and loving husband bores the young bride: she looks up her old thrill-seeking buddies and splits.
It isn't long before she's peddling dope on the street with a trashy sidekick in order to finance her growing list of addictions. A young Mexican takes the wayward girl under his wing and makes her not only his partner-in-stolen-car-crime but his 'woman' as well.
In the white-knuckle conclusion, Cassandra and her skanky lover are forced to ditch their stolen car in the desert and take refuge in a shallow cave. With the posse closing in, the Mexican abandons Cassandra (who is wracked with withdrawal pains) and the deputies nab the semi-conscious heroine.
At the end, the Courts decide society is best served by confining Cassandra to a Federal Narcotics Hospital for a lengthy stay and questionable treatments.
A few strokes of genius lift this film to the realms of gold. First, the weary narc pursuing Cassandra grimly narrates the entire story and none of the cast is permitted a line.
More thrillingly, the viewer is treated to several seedy locations in and around Los Angeles c. 1950 as the heroine spirals out of control.
And last but not least, Cassandra is so wholesomely pretty, has so many enchanting frocks to wear, and affects such an engaging innocence and likeability that we find ourselves truly caring about her.
Sadly though, the film shuns tragedy at its conclusion by allowing Cassandra to survive her ordeal. An agonizing death-in-the-wasteland for the heroine would have been a wrenching conclusion. As it is, the viewer feels some disappointment and indifference.
Nonetheless, 'Teenage Devil Dolls' is a cinematic triumph and highly, highly recommended by this viewer.