Test Tube Babies (1948)


testTest Tube Babies/ Hell is a Place Called Hollywood is a double feature DVD release from Alpha Video. You’d have to go a long way to find a film as peculiar as Test Tube Babies. With a pseudo educational style (the film’s “medical and technical data is approved and supervised” by the National Research Foundation for Fertility, Inc.), this 53 minute long film follows George and Cathy through courtship, marriage, and the arrival of their test tube baby. There’s one breakfast scene that is supposed to illustrate their marital bliss–but then their marriage suddenly turns rocky. Cathy talks about having a baby, George stays late at work, and the next thing you know, Cathy is having wild parties while George is gone.

The best (and funniest) scene in the film takes place during one of Cathy’s wild parties. There’s an underlying hint of an orgy as everyone starts changing partners and one woman starts stripping–her drunken husband joins her. But apart from that, the film is quite awful–and it’s so awful, it’s bizarre. The acting is hideous, the plot is silly, and the film switches back and forth between preachy moral scenes, and sheer nonsense. There’s even one scene that could be called “What to Expect at a Gynecologist’s Office.” The preachy moral stuff probably allowed the naughty bits to sneak by the censors, but the result is an odd blend of voyeuristic non-titillation that runs for a little over 50 minutes

Hell is a Place Called Hollywood is the “2nd sinful feature” on this DVD. It’s a short piece (about 20 minutes) that catalogues the trials and tribulations of a former beauty queen who wins a trip to Hollywood and a small part in the film. The small part turns out to be a nudie role, and soon our heroine is reduced to taking jobs as a bondage model for a calendar photographer.

The DVD quality is poor. The film skips, and black holes appear in the print. Best scene in the film….the naughty party at Cathy’s house: “I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on.”

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