|Jail Bait remains mysterious, all these decades later.|
Sixty-seven years after its release, Jail Bait (1954) remains the overlooked middle child of Ed Wood's early filmography. Even with its outrageous plastic-surgery-at-gunpoint plot twist, this low budget noir thriller simply isn't as flashy as Bride of the Monster (1955), Glen or Glenda (1953), or Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). Jail Bait has no killer octopuses, zombies, or flying saucers to offer its viewers. Criswell, Tor Johnson, and Bela Lugosi are AWOL. The most overtly Wood-ian flourishes are in the wardrobe: Mona McKinnon's furry hat, Dolores Fuller's lacy nightgown, and Theodora Thurman's silk pajamas.
I guess we're not supposed to pay much attention to Jail Bait, kind of like how we're not supposed to focus too much on Zeppo during the Marx Brothers' movies. Perhaps paradoxically, that's why I find it so compelling. I've already written articles about the film's young star, Clancy Malone, and its (sort of) composer, Hoyt Curtin, plus I coauthored a piece about the aforementioned Ms. Thurman. But this week, I just wanted to dive right into the film's credits and see if there were any names that stuck out for whatever reason, preferably names I hadn't given much thought in the past.