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Born Innocent
Born Innocent
Actors: Linda Blair, Joanna Miles, Kim Hunter, Richard Jaeckel, Allyn Ann McLerie
Director: Donald Wrye
Genres: Drama, Horror, Television, Cult Movies, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2004     1hr 38min

A 14-year-old runaway (Linda Blair) is placed in the care of the state. She is soon to find out her existence means little to many, trapped in the uncaring bureaucracy, the sometimes brutal treatment from her peers and ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Linda Blair, Joanna Miles, Kim Hunter, Richard Jaeckel, Allyn Ann McLerie
Director: Donald Wrye
Creators: David M. Walsh, Maury Winetrobe, Bruce Cohn Curtis, Rick Rosenberg, Robert W. Christiansen, Creighton Brown Burnham, Gerald Di Pego
Genres: Drama, Horror, Television, Cult Movies, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Horror, Television, Prison, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Vci Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/25/2004
Original Release Date: 09/10/1974
Theatrical Release Date: 09/10/1974
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

An Important and Powerful Film
Ronald Greenberg | Bellerose, NY United States | 05/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a powerful and moving film about a young girl's rejection by an unloving family and her odyssey through jail, court and a State Home for Girls. But mainly it is about the loss of innocence, loss of faith in self and in others, and of optimism and of hope.When this made for television film first aired on NBC in 1974, it produced a storm of controversy due to its graphic depiction of abuses in a State Home for Girls. Filmed on location in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the story chronicles the imprisonment and family life of 14 year old runaway Christine Parker, played by Linda Blair in an almost flawless performance. Intelligent and a good student, but confronted with an abusive father and alcoholic mother, she is a chronic runaway and is ultimately made a ward of the State at the behest of her parents. Christine is arrested by the local police and placed overnight in an adult jail, sharing a dormitory with adult inmates, an unfortunate practice that still continues to this day in some jurisdictions. From here she is transferred to a jail for juveniles, made a ward of the court and ulimately sent to a State Home for Girls, where she is subjected to numerous abuses, mainly by other residents at the Home, and culminating in her rape with the handle of a toilet scrubber brush by other female residents in her dormitory. The film manages to avoid predictable stereotypes in its portrayal of even the most predatory teenage residents. They are presented as multi-dimensional characters, disfunctional yet human.Christine tries unsuccessfully to escape and is placed in the isolation unit. Here she confides to her teacher, played with exceptional ability by Joanna Miles, that she had been raped. The scene in which the teacher helps Christine to confide in her, talking to and holding Christine through the small opening in the isolation cell, is directed and performed with much sensitivity and skill, and is one of the most powerful scenes in the film.Christine's teacher manages to obtain permission for Christine to be returned to her family on a trial basis, but her father becomes abusive again and Christine runs away to her brother who, preoccupied with his new wife and child, turns Christine over to the authorities. Returned to the State Home for Girls, Christine is disillusioned and almost without hope, but Christine's teacher has Christine paired off with another girl resident who is pregnant, and Christine's faith is briefly restored as she helps her friend with her pregnancy. This too ends tragically, as her friend hemorrhages while the two are in the isolation unit, after they are mistakenly believed to have started a fight in the messhall.By the end of the film, there is little if anything for Christine to believe in, and seemingly no where to go. She becomes indistinguishable from the other residents in the institution, begins to manipulate staff, loses faith in her suppotive teacher and apparently with life as well.It is to the film's credit that there are no typical villainous characters that can be conveniently blamed. The staff in the institution is portrayed without stereotype and as people who, for the most part, are well intentioned and supportive. Even the dormitory matron, played by Allyn Ann McLerie, who has Christine and her pregnant friend placed in isolation, is treated compassionately in the film as someone who is trying under very difficult conditions to maintain a semblance of order and to protect her charges. It is only clear that the circumstances of confinement and family life are at fault, but the film offers no easy or predictable answers.Unfortunately, the packaging of the film on VHS and now on DVD does little to convey the quality and seriousness of the film. While its release on DVD is overdue, the film and actress deserve better than the DVD jacket with the drawing (which is not based on any scene in the movie) of Linda Blair as Christine posing seductively with her fly half open. Nonetheless, this is an outstanding and important film that is committed to uncompromising realism and honesty, and is not afraid to deviate from the typical formulas for movie making."
Linda has some amazing moments, supporting cast equally good
jon sieruga | Redlands, CA USA | 12/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"No one mentions the other inmates of the juvenile asylum, but the young actresses playing Denny and Moco are scarily effective, and Tina Andrews, the young girl playing Josie(who can also be seen as one of Marcia Brady's school-friends in the 'Davy Jones' episode on 'The Brady Bunch' as well as a student in 'Conrack'), gives a tightly-controlled performance; when her mother comes for a visit, Josie cries, mocking her: 'When ya comin' home? I miss you, Josie'." That's good acting. As for Linda Blair: she's always reliable and solid, but here it takes her a little while to warm up. In the admissions office near the beginning, Linda is a bit too somnambulistic("I don't think I need to be here"), but minutes later, when she has discovered her father brought her suitcase from home, Linda gets the juices going: "Who brought it? Why didn't you tell me he was here?" This is a wrenching moment. In this horrible place, with ugly walls and sterile decor, Chris is being jerked this way and that--and then come to find out, her own father was just there and didn't even want to talk to her. It's a powerful movie, and should touch anyone who's had a troubled youth. The low-budget, documentary quality of the movie was deliberate(it looked this way even on it's first TV airing), and the DVD will only enhance its 'dated' look, but at the time it was a ratings bonanza and made Linda Blair one of the highest paid actresses working in telefilms. Her next two, "Sarah T. Portrait of a Teenage Alcholic" and "Sweet Hostage" are even better than this one, but are, sadly, still in the DVD vaults.
Classic '70s Made-For-TV Movie!
Mr Doug Gordon | Toronto, ON Canada | 07/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was really lucky to be able to find a new copy of this movie on VHS. I remember it well from it's first broadcast in 1974 on NBC, and all the controversy it generated due to [a rape] scene. This scene was edited from reruns, but is in tact on video. Linda Blair plays a teenage runaway that ends up in juvenile hall due to her parents request & constant running away. It was made during an era on Network TV when they were trying to convey a message in the movies they broadcast. The fashions, the hairstyles and the classic acting by Linda Blair, make this a must own for anyone that appreciates the classic made-for-tv movies of the '70s."
Linda Blair Gets a hard lession in Reform School abuse
Kevin S.Butler | Mamaroneck,New York,USA | 10/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In this gritty and uncomprimising look at the violent and dark
world of girl's reform schools. Linda Blair gives her best screen performance as a frightened and all too trusting teen.Who deals with her father's abuse and her mother's drinking by running away. Eventually,"Chris Parker's"(Ms.Blair's)Parents have had enough of their daughter's supposedly uncontrollable behavior and the thoughless and neglegent pair send the poor girl to a juvenile insitution
for teenage girls. Where Poor Ms.Blair is abused and raped by some of the dangerous and insane inmates and she recieves no mercy from
the school's equally abusive and thoughtless housemother:"Mrs.
Emma Lasko"(Allyn Ann McClaire..Best remembered for playing
another authoritative lout:"Mrs.Rubner"on the short lived:"Tony
Randall Show"). Yet? Ms.Blair's"Chris Parker"is not without at least one friend. A kindly teacher,who tries to get the young girl to improve her-self.So that she can impress the school officals to the
point.Where she can go home for a brief visit and hopefully
she can remain with her family. But once at home,"Chris"finds out that nothing has changed. Her father:"Ben Parker"(played by the late Richard
remembered as the obnoxious federal agent in the movie version
of"Starman")is still an abusive and vicious lout. Who feels that her daughter belongs in that school and that he
has done nothing wrong..that he is not reasonsible for her daughter's difficulty in staying home and the mother(played by
Ms.Kim Hunter.."Dr.Zeria"in "The Planet Of The Apes"movies)can
only deal with her husband's mean sprirted attitude by reaching
for the bottle. "Chris"heads for Tucson,in the hopes that she can find refuge
with her brother(played by Mitch Vogel..Best remembered as"Jamie
Hunter Cartwright"on"Bonannza!").Sadly.."Chris"finds out that her brother doesn't care and she returns to the school.Where shebecomes an angry and distrustful cynic. The plot is good and the acting is top notch. Ms.Blair's performance is real and heartfelt..especially.When she meets her brother at the bus stop..only to find out
that the unfaifthful creep has turned her in to the cops. Ms.Jakel's performance as "Mr.Parker"is also riveting.
As he goes from overbearing nice guy to violent and unreasonable
rage. There are also some fine performances from The actors..who
play the girls in the schools and from the lady.Who plays the
supportive teacher.Even Ms.McClaire's role of the bullying
housemother is worth watching.(Ms.Hunter's role is small but still worth watching)
The one scene that is brilliantly filmed(But hard to watch
by very young children and by those..whose strict morals and weak
hearts have trouble viewing this scene)is the scene . Where Ms.Blair's character is raped in the shower room by
the more dangerous inmates of the insitution. The scene ,while well executed is still difficult for some people to watch and should not be seen by very young children. Despite the negitive outcome of this scene(and I'm not as
badly effect by the rape scene as some other viewers of this
film are?)"Born Inocent!"is Ms.Linda Blair's best tv performance! Bravo Ms.Blair!"