RED SALUTE (1935) becomes RUNAWAY DAUGHTER (1953)

After that classic romantic comedy It Happened One Night swept the Academy Awards for 1934, a rash of imitators appeared in 1935. One of the quirkier knock-offs was Red Salute, which subverted the usual conventions of the genre by making one of its principal characters a Communist student radical. When a rich girl, played by Barbara Stanwyck, is caught hanging around with a campus agitator (Hardie Albright), her father yanks her out of college and sends her south of the border to cool off. There she meets--and naturally falls for--a handsome Border Patrolman (Robert Young), whose straight-arrow ways quickly reform her leftish proclivities. The usual 674 plot complications follow, leading to the film's big wind up: Albright and his Red buddies are soundly thrashed by Young and the rosy-cheeked student body.

Eighteen years later, the film was given a second life when some enterprising accountant decided that the feverish headlines of the day had created a demand for movies with anti-communist messages. A new marketing campaign was devised--"A startling story of RED MENACE at work in our schools...planting the seed of treason among the men and women of tomorrow!"--and the film was given a new title, Runaway Daughter. But audiences easily recognized it for the recycled 1935 product that it was; after all, in 1953, campus radicals wouldn't have been punched out as punishment; they would have been jailed or deported.

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    Last modified: Thursday, 31-May-2007 09:41:51 EDT