Don’t Talk to Strangers (film #453 on Prelinger Archive).

A little girl named Earline encounters a man on her way home from school who tries to lure her into his car. Obviously, she’s watched plenty of Sid Davis films at school, because she immediately turns him down and writes down the license number of the car. Then she takes this information home to her mother, who, amazingly, blows it off. So the next day, the man manages to successfully pick up a classmate of hers who must have been home sick during the showing of The Dangerous Stranger. When her mother calls the school to inform them that her daughter didn’t make it home, the principal conducts a search of the playground, asking every kid there whether or not they saw the missing girl. None of them did, except for one plucky little boy who saw the girl get into the man’s car. At this point, the police are called, and they go through an excruciatingly long process of calling in detectives (including a female detective with cat’s eye glasses that have to be seen to be believed), questioning all the children again, sending out an APB, and patrolling the streets at about 15 miles an hour. Fortunately, the child molester turns out to be too neurotic to work quickly, so by the time a police officer spots his car and picks him up, the girl is unharmed. (In real life, she would have been raped, dead, and buried in a field somewhere by that time, hence the Amber Alert.) All this is told through narration, with overly-dramatic music on the soundtrack. Then the movie focuses on prevention, which amounts to stating that this never happens to nice families who have regular bedtimes for the children. The narrator tells us that Earline’s mom feels guilty for ignoring her child’s report of the strange man, but this is said over footage of her blithely reading a magazine, looking like she hasn’t a care in the world. In this film, the only smart people appear to be the kids. Watch for the cheesy title cards made with plastic letters and the scary drawing Earline made to go with her theme on dental care.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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