TAKE CARE OF MY LITTLE GIRL is a cautionary tale about college sororities which provides enjoyably soapy Technicolor entertainment.
Jeanne Crain, one of my favorite actresses, stars as starry-eyed Liz Erickson, a freshman who goes off to college hoping to join her mother's old sorority.
Liz is thrilled when she's asked to join the sorority, but is also unsettled when her best friend from back home doesn't make the cut. Liz's head is turned when a popular -- but perpetually drunk -- fraternity man (Jeffrey Hunter) courts her, but as time goes on she questions that relationship and much more about her sorority experience. The sorority's cruel treatment of an unpopular pledge (Lenka Peterson) provides a turning point for Liz.
Crain is excellent in the lead role, and very believable as a young college student, despite the fact that in real life by this point Crain had already given birth to three of her seven children! The same year this film was released Crain starred in a more mature role in PEOPLE WILL TALK with Cary Grant.
The supporting cast includes Dale Robertson as an older WWII vet pre-med student who doesn't have the time or patience for Greek silliness; Mitzi Gaynor as an outgoing friend of Liz's who refuses to rush sororities; striking Jean Peters as the sorority Queen Bee who is wrapped up in appearances; Betty Lynn and Helen Westcott as sorority sisters; and Natalie Schafer as a sorority den mother.
It's not a great movie, but it's diverting, and along the way it raises some interesting ethical questions. I've never understood the concept of "till death" friendships based on complete strangers being asked to join a group based on looks and other surface impressions. The concept strikes me as pointless and potentially hurtful, as Liz finds in the film. ("But don't forget we do charity work!" one sister halfheartedly throws in in defense of the sorority. Whatever...) I've also never understood the willingness of anyone to put aside things like kindness and self-respect and participate in idiotic "Hell Week" rituals. The movie delves into all of these issues.
The film runs 93 minutes and was directed by Jean Negulesco. You can read a bit more about Negulesco in a post on another "college" film he directed, 1955's DADDY LONG LEGS. Negulesco's wife, Dusty Anderson, has an uncredited bit part in the film as a cashier.
TAKE CARE OF MY LITTLE GIRL is not available on DVD or video, but it can be seen on cable in the library of Fox Movie Channel.