CLAUDELLE INGLISH is 99 minutes of silly 1961 drama, taken from a novel by Erskine Caldwell, another of his po’-white-trash potboilers. Dirt-poor (sorry, po’) country gal, after being dumped by her first love, in short order becomes the county tramp. She passes on Mama’s dream of marryin’ a rich older landowner (Claudine’s daddy bein’ one of his sharecroppers) in order that she can soil herself with a variety of young studs.
One of Warner’s stable of newbies, Diane McBain, plays the title trollop. A twenty-year old blonde beauty, McBain had been groomed for two years on Warner’s roster of TV shows and parts in two A-features, Ice Palace and Parrish. Results were positive enough they gave her the starring lead in this one: she’s not bad, considering the material. Arthur Kennedy (Pa) is his usual pro self, and Claude Akins has a good role as a spurned suitor. Other boytoys are Chad Everett, Will Hutchins, Robert Colbert. Assorted concerned grownups include Constance Ford, Frank Overton and Ford Rainey. Directed decently enough by workhorse Gordon Douglas, not aided by the script or by the paint-by-number score from Howard Jackson, telegraphing every emotion.
Little interest beyond grins at the cut-to-wind-in-trees shots suggesting carnal activity. Second-tier production is set-bound and looks cheap, but is decently photographed by Ralph Woolsy. Costume Design got an Oscar nomination, for some obscure reason. It did bring on some recognition for Diane, who reverted to mostly TV work until a traumatic assault in 1982 led her into work as a rape counselor. Salute to McBain for surmounting her personal tragedy. As to this movie, better film versions of Caldwell are found with Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre.