As Young as We Are

The story of a teacher who has a relationship with a student sounds like something we’d see in a movie today.  Heck, how many Lifetime movies alone have used that as a premise? Not that I watch that stuff.  But long before basic cable, B-movie producers looked for any controversial subject they could to get butts in seats.  Which leads us to a film about a pretty young teacher who, while awaiting her first job to start, unwittingly starts a relationship with one of her students…1958’s “As Young as We Are.”

The film focuses on Kim Hutchins (Pippa Scott), a young lady, fresh out of college, seeking her first job as a high school teacher.  While at a job fair, she meets another young woman, Joyce Goodwin (Majel Barrett…ooh all the Trekkies just started paying attention), who is also looking for her first job.  Unfortunately, both young ladies are met with the same response from every recruiter…”you’re too young.”  Now, today, these ladies would’ve sued for age discrimination and we’d have a completely different Lifetime movie of the week (seriously I don’t watch that stuff), but these two keep at it.  Both end up getting jobs at Rosario High School, waaaaaay out in one of California’s desert communities.  The school is desperate for teachers, many usually quit before the year is done.  Why?  Because the kids out there are bad, it’s a rough job teaching them.  Not like the cushy teaching jobs in the city of Los Angeles.  My how times have changed.

Kim is excited to have landed her first teaching gig, but her father, a stuffy college professor, is less than thrilled.  Her boyfriend Bob (Ross Elliott), who looks old enough to have gotten his AARP card already, is a bit more encouraging, but seems to be waffling a bit on their relationship.  None the less, Kim and Joyce pack up the car and head for the desert.

Just outside of Rosario, the lights suddenly give out on Joyce’s car.  A few men stop, but they ain’t looking to help out.  They quickly begin to put the moves on the two young ladies.  Luckily, the handsome young Hank Moore (Robert Harland) drives by in time to save the girls.  Kim and Hank are obviously attracted to each other.  A few days after arriving in town, and moving into a local boarding house, Kim is paid a visit by Hank and the two begin a steamy relationship.

After a few weeks, school starts.  Kim has already started her first class when some late students show up…among them, of course, is Hank.  Of course, Kim tries to break things off, but Hank won’t hear of it.  He continues to show up at her home.  One night, he takes her out in his truck to talk over matters.  While stopped at the gas station, a few classmates spot him steal a kiss from Kim…soon rumors begin to fill the school.  Whispers, violence and even kidnapping all follow in classic B-movie style.

There is absolutely no way to take this film seriously.  This supposedly tough-as-nails high school is clean, orderly, and full of straight-laced kids.  Kids, I might add, who look about 15 years older than the average high school student.  No wonder Kim thought Hank was 25!  Twenty five, heck…try 35!

The performances are quite good for a teen scandal B flick like this.  Pippa Scott really does a great job showing Kim struggling with trying to be an authority figure, Majel Barrett makes a good “voice of reason” for the story, and Robert Harland is convincing as his character gradually becomes more psychotic.

What’s really weird is that with so many real stories about female teachers getting too close to their male students, this story comes across as being pretty goofy today.  “As Young as We Are” will definitely provide some chuckles.  If you want the serious stuff, stick to the Lifetime movies.  But I don’t watch that stuff…really!!!

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