A “Cinderella Liberty” is Navy jargon for a pass that runs out at midnight…

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John Baggs Jr.: Would you call yourself a “Champagne cocktail-sippin’, cock-teasin’, downtown barroom whore?

Maggie Paul: [bursting into tears] Second generation!

At that time in my life I never looked at the possibility of poverty and prostitution as a way for a woman to be independent

We saw this film in 1973. We applied the usual antics of youth getting into films when we were all under age for an “R” rated film. It was the same year that the Exorcist came out. Most likely we viewed this film at the Fallbrook Theater that still had a large Cinemascope screen. I know it is the same theater where we saw the Exorcist. This is before greed stepped in, before they started butchering the theaters up into multi-viewing-rooms, at least this one.

John Baggs Jr.: We love each other.

Maggie Paul: Love is shit with sugar on it.

Basically, the film is about a sailor, John Baggs Jr., on “Cinderella liberty” due to a boil on his behind. He gets time off and in the process the Navy loses his files. He then goes on patrol street duty. He also does what sailors do he finds a prostitute, Maggie Paul. The film is very entertaining and made a big impression of me at 15. It has a good feel to it.

At that time in my life I never looked at the possibility of poverty and prostitution as a way for a woman to be independent. Also, I learned that the world of a sailor is a tough life. Somehow these two characters find each other and fall in love. There is more to the film though, it is also about Maggie’s child Doug.  Imagine a punk kid, who drinks beer to ease his toothache, winning John’s heart over. It is true and then the three of them forming a family especially in such an unpredictable environment. Who would know such a sweet family would develop?

The sleazy bar scenes, playing pool, and the colorful and cleaver dialogues; are brilliantly married with this film’s soundtrack. It has that ‘70s thing going on…the real deal!!

James Caan and Marsha Mason in Cinderella Liberty (1973)

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