Blue Denim (1959): Teenage Romantic Melodrama Starring Brandon De Wilde and Carol Lynley

Cashing in on the popularity of the recent cycle of “Rebel Without a Cause” and “teens in trouble,” Fox made “Blue Denim,” starring Brandon De Wilde (better known as a child actor in “Shane”) and Carol Lynley as Arthur Bartley and Janet Willard, high school sweethearts who find in each other the love and understanding they don’t receive from their emotionally distant parents.

Teenage romance leads to adult tragedy and consequence, when Janet gets pregnant, and neither teen can broach the subject with their respective parents. Since they’re legally too young (and immature) to get married, they’re forced to seek out an illegal abortion before Janet is no longer able to hide her condition.

Blue Denim is well acted, especially by Lynley (who would become major star in the 1960s) and well-directed by Philip Dunne.  The sequence where the teen lovers meet the abortionist is both touching and scary, and by standards of the time was considered bold and frank.

De Wilde’s parents are played by Macdonald Carey as Major Malcolm Bartley and Marsha Hunt as his wife, Jessie. In the same year, another pair of teenage stars, Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee made the similarly themed and even more popular, “A Summer Place.”

Running time: 89 minutes.

Directed by Philip Dunne

Released: October 30, 1959

Twentieth Century Fox