Child Bride (1943)

64 mins | Drama | January 1943

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HISTORY

Actor Angelo Rossitto was billed as "Don Barrett" in the onscreen credits, although his character name was listed as "Angelo." It is unclear if the personal name credit was intended or a mistake. Photographer Marcel Le Picard's name is misspelled "Picard" in the onscreen credits. Although the opening credits indicate that the film was copyrighted by Stern Fisher, the title was not included in the U.S. 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, which appears to have been made in 1937 and may have been exhibited in some areas of the country in 1938, 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." According to NYSA records, Child Bride was rejected for exhibition in New York state in 1942 and 1944, but finally was approved for exhibition in 1952, after it had been cut to a length of 3,911 feet (approximately 43 min). According to modern sources, Child Bride also ... More Less

Actor Angelo Rossitto was billed as "Don Barrett" in the onscreen credits, although his character name was listed as "Angelo." It is unclear if the personal name credit was intended or a mistake. Photographer Marcel Le Picard's name is misspelled "Picard" in the onscreen credits. Although the opening credits indicate that the film was copyrighted by Stern Fisher, the title was not included in the U.S. 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, which appears to have been made in 1937 and may have been exhibited in some areas of the country in 1938, 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." According to NYSA records, Child Bride was rejected for exhibition in New York state in 1942 and 1944, but finally was approved for exhibition in 1952, after it had been cut to a length of 3,911 feet (approximately 43 min). According to modern sources, Child Bride also was reissued under the title Dust to Dust .
       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 reject the project. In Jul 1938, Victory Production s submitted a script titled Child Wives . That project never reached fruition. More Less

DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Dust to Dust
Release Date:
January 1943
Duration(in mins):
64
Length(in feet):
5,800
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

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 ... +


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. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Exploitation


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.