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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA ensemble pulls ‘Devil Dolls’ from the musical safe

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    The UA Archive Ensemble will host a concert today featuring the silent film “”Teenage Devil Dolls,”” with the Ensemble performing the accompanying music.

    “”Teenage Devil Dolls”” follows the life of Cassandra Leigh (played by Barbara Marks), beginning in her high school days. In an effort to escape the requests of her mother, she joins a group of pot-smoking bikers. Later in life, she leaves her husband, and ends up on the street as an addict to several different drugs, and the lover of a man who will betray her.

    “”It’s really an unusual show,”” said Keith Pawlak, adjunct instructor and music curator at the School of Music. “”It’s something similar to a silent film production. We’re going to be showing the feature flim, and then performing the original score along with that. There’s also going to be an actor who’s going to be doing narration, who’s going to be telling the story of this girl who destroys her life through making bad decisions.””

    The film was originally titled “”One Way Ticket to Hell”” and created in 1955 by Bamlet Lawrence Price, Jr., a UCLA graduate student, for his master’s thesis. The 60-minute feature was a 1956 “”Look Magazine”” intercollegiate award winner for best college-made film of the year. Robert Drasnin, another student, was hired to write the score. The film was re-titled in the ’80s when it was made available for home viewing and late night TV movies.

    It belongs to the exploitation genre of film popular in the ’30s and ’40s, Pawlak said. Other exploitation films include “”Reefer Madness,”” about the dangers of marijuana.

    Because this film was made decades ago, it will give viewer a glimpse into what thoughts and beliefs people held then.

    “”It’s an entertaining picture that gives people a glimpse at some of the strange ideologies that were present back in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s,”” Pawlak said. “”One being this idea that drugs could make you go insane. That type of thinking is maybe a little bit unusual for some people.””

    Not only are concepts of the film unusual, the execution of the film is uncommon.

    “”One is kind of the unusual nature of the dialog and the music,”” Pawlak said. “”There’s no interaction between the actors in the film. We don’t actually hear them talking to one another. It’s done in a very peculiar manner. You have this narrator talking throughout the entire picture, and it’s strange.””

    “”Teenage Devil Dolls”” will be performed at Crowder Hall on Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Along with the musical accompaniment, the screening will feature narration by Theatre Arts faculty artist Monte Ralstin. Tickets are $9 general admission, $7 for seniors and UA employees, and $5 for students with CatCard. The film will be followed by a discussion session, led by music composer Robert Drasnin.

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