College Confidential (1960)

“I want you to abandon this dangerous project, which people are interpreting in the worst possible way!”

College Confidential Poster

Synopsis:
A sociology professor (Steve Allen) under fire for corrupting his students (including Mamie Van Doren) is investigated by an inquisitive journalist (Jayne Meadows).

Genres:

Review:
Albert Zugsmith directed and produced this tepid exploitation flick meant to capitalize on both the success of 1958’s High School Confidential (also co-starring Mamie Van Doren) and the era’s infamous Kinsey Reports. Unfortunately, Irving Shulman’s screenplay tries so hard to be sensationalistic that it comes across more like a loosely focused series of vignettes than a compelling narrative. Numerous characters — including Elisha Cook, Jr. as van Doren’s irate father, Pamela Mason as Allen’s jealous fiancee, Herbert Marshall as Allen’s sympathetic supervisor, and Ziva Rodann as a lusty “foreign” bombshell with the hots for Allen — are introduced for a scene or two, then disappear completely from the story; meanwhile, the identity of the person “framing” Allen is patently obvious to anyone half paying attention. The dialogue throughout is laughably campy (“Now I’m going to shock you good people even more than before: I’m going to reveal the source books of my questions — first of all, the Bible itself”), and while Zugsmith aims for stylistic creativity in his direction, it’s often simply clumsy — as when he positions the camera from inside a refrigerator for a lengthy scene, or awkwardly shifts perspective time and again during van Doren’s heated argument with her father and mother. According to TCM Underground‘s article, Allen apparently signed on to this project thinking he was giving himself a rare non-comedic role to bite into; little did he know that he would instead be starring in what Peary refers to as a “camp classic”.

Note: While College Confidential is no great shakes as entertainment, it’s infinitely more watchable than the other college-themed Mamie Van Doren film Zugsmith directed and produced (later that same year): the utterly abysmal Sex Kittens Go to College.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Some amusingly campy dialogue: “Have I ever stopped you from being strong and silent?”
    College Confidential Dialogue

Must See?
No. Listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book.

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One Response to “College Confidential (1960)”

  1. Although it does have the occasional, unintentionally funny bit, I’d say calling ‘College Confidential’ “a camp classic” is overly generous. It’s certainly miles and miles (and miles) away from being must-see. It’s a film all about sex (that is, we see none of it but it certainly gets talked about non-stop) which still manages to be deadly dull. That script – sheesh!

    However, I try to never miss a movie with Woo Woo Grabowski in minor, standard muscle-clown mode. 😉

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