Based on the Broadway stage play by James Leo Herlihy and William Noble, Blue Denim recounts, often movingly and intelligently, the torments of a pair of high school lovers who are about to become unwed parents. The desperation of these babes in the basement – a 15-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy – is further highlighted by their inability to communicate with their parents.
The girl’s father is a college professor determined to raise his only daughter to emulate his dead wife. The boy’s father is a retired army officer given to reciting platitudes about the value of service life and unable to forget his moments of past glory.
The screenplay has been considerably watered down. The word ‘abortion’ is never mentioned although it is obvious what is taking place. Moreover, the ending deteriorates to cliche melodrama.
Carol Lynley repeats her stage role with the same eclat and sensitivity. As her young lover, Brandon de Wilde gives a moving performance as the confused 16-year-old learning the realities of sex. Warren Berliner, also from the stage play, is fine as his wise-cracking buddy and confidante.