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LINDA BLAIR LOCKED IN THE TELEVISION MOVIE 'BORN INNOCENT'

Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT Year: 1974 Rating: ***1/2

This TV-Movie warning the dangers of being an incorrigible runaway titled BORN INNOCENT begins three times, not finding the right place for 14-year-old Linda Blair to be holed-up: first at an adult prison as the opening credits surround our wide-eyed kid amongst rugged women inmates, tough enough to carry their own feature...  to the next lockup but with younger females, and, at this point, at this place, we should be underway... until she's moved once again...

And the next place is permanent, a comparably loose juvenile hall that takes a rural dirt road to enter from a benign main building, at least reuniting one of the nicer girls from the second locale, while OVER THE EDGE director Jonathan Kaplan's butchy sister Nora Heflin and b-starlet Janit Baldwin are the token bullies...

Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT

And right when INNOCENT could be another watered-down small-screen exploitation, new girl Linda — having dodged lesbian advances from Heflin and deemed The Virgin — gets violently raped with a plunger's handle...  even more shocking (and downright disturbing) than if BORN were flickering at an R-Rated drive-in...

On the lighter side is grownup protagonist (and overall acting ringer) Joanna Miles, the progressive teacher who desperately foresees future hope in this new arrival — who would understandably rather have freedom during the first half and, when let out on a two-day furlough, we learn why she's a runaway as veteran actors Richard Jaekel and Kim Hunter portray sleazy parents making prison seem lucrative...

Joanna Miles in BORN INNOCENT

And making BORN INNOCENT one of those edgy vehicles that improves upon realizing what both the audience and central character had been through despite some melodramatic sequences and potentially aggressive inmates that aren't quite fleshed-out enough to matter, including pretty black girl Tina Andrews, who'd have more potential in her own blaxploitation since, with an exception of Blair, the actresses were twenty-somethings portraying teens...

But overall it's Linda's sole ride despite her performance being cautiously toned-down as a cautionary-tale pawn, taking everything with stride and yet, by the very end, following an all-girl riot against the Nurse Ratched type overseer — you'll realize that Blair's edgy, all-knowing, experienced prowess had been right there, lurking all along.

Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT with Allyn Ann McLerie
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT
Nora Heflin in BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT
Joanna Miles in BORN INNOCENT
Janit Baldwin in BORN INNOCENT
Joanna Miles in BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT Allyn Ann McLerie
Joanna Miles in BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT with Sandra Ego
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT
Tina Andrews in BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT
Nora Heflin in BORN INNOCENT
Nora Heflin on with Steven Kampmann on NEWHART
Nora Heflin on Larry and the Brothers Daryl on NEWHART
Nora Heflin in the middle for BORN INNOCENT
Linda Blair in BORN INNOCENT

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