Film Review: I Accuse My Parents (1944)

Release Date: November 4th, 1944
Directed by: Sam Newfield
Written by: Arthur Caesar, Harry L. Fraser, Marjorie Dudley
Music by: Lee Zahler
Cast: Robert Lowell, Mary Beth Hughes, George Meeker, John Mijan, Vivienne Osborne

Producers Releasing Corporation, 68 Minutes

Review:

I Accuse My Parents is a fairly poor film but it is actually engaging. It benefits from the fact that it is only 68 minutes because it would have been hard to remain engaged beyond that. It is also a film that was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and honestly, if you’re going to watch this, watch that version. Joel and the Bots make the movie more entertaining.

The film deals with the trend of juvenile delinquency, which was a big issue in the 1940s, for some reason. Mostly, it focuses on the effects of childhood neglect. The main character accuses his parents because their disinterest in his life causes him to go down a dark road where he finds himself on trial for manslaughter.

I Accuse My Parents is an exploitation morality picture. Back in the day, Hollywood used to like to make these sorts of things. The film industry was America’s big busybodies and they had to tell people how to live. Granted, Hollywood still tries to dictate their philosophical and political views but at least there is a lot more freedom in filmmaking and more than one point-of-view.

The film is very basic in its delivery. It is straightforward, the acting isn’t good but it isn’t bad, it is shot without any real artistic flourishes and it doesn’t provide the audience anything controversial or at the very least, it doesn’t have any surprises. It is quite simply Hollywood’s version of a “basic bitch”. It exists and has no idea what the word “potential” means.

The reason why I consider it engaging, is that these old Hollywood morality films play like some bizarre relic from a time when Americana was all about do-gooder white folks and their picket fence suburban fantasies. These films are just interesting to watch in spite of themselves. Granted, this is no Reefer Madness but it fits in the same sort of box.

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