Girls Behind Bars was one of the first films lensed in the American zone of Berlin after World War II. The lurid title obscures the film's avowed purpose: to bring about much-needed reforms in Germany's juvenile reformatories. The "old guard" wants to use the severest forms of discipline to keep their charges in line. The "newer" authorities, however, believe that an ounce of kindness is worth a pound of retribution. Most of the footage is devoted to Petra Peters, cast as an innocent girl trapped by circumstance in the mazelike reform-school system. American prints of Girls Behind Bars are shorn of a rape scene and several shots of the female inmates showering in the nude (how times have changed!)
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