Child Bride (1938)

This film deals with the subject of underage women (rather pre-teenage girls) forced into marriages with older men in the Appalachian mountains and the school teacher who is desperate to get a law passed to outlaw this procedure. She enlists the help of her boyfriend, who is an assistant district attorney.

The focus is on little Jennie (played by Shirley Mills at 12 years of age) who catches the eye of horrible (and much older) Jake when she is swimming naked in the river, and who then blackmails her mother into giving Jennie to him.

The biggest shocker is seeing Shirley Mills bare all in this movie, not to mention that she has already matured at such a young age. First you see her completely topless as she undresses to go swimming in the river (not a short clip either!), then extended shots of her swimming totally nude with her back to the camera, then later a full frontal shot of her in the water. Considering the standards back then as opposed today, it is unbelievable that whoever was handling Shirley Mills’ career would have permitted her to do this type of filming, let alone Shirley having no qualms or shyness about doing these scenes – she appears totally natural and actually enjoying herself splashing in the water!

There is also some other brief nudity of Jennie’s mother when Jennie’s father is beating her up.