Cinderella Liberty (1973) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A lonely Navy sailor falls in love with a hooker and becomes a surrogate father figure for her son during an extended liberty, due to his service records being lost.

  • The ship on which kindhearted US Navy sailor John Baggs, Jr. is currently serving has just docked in Seattle. Beyond wanting to find a fellow sailor by the name of Lynn Forshay who he believes is also on shore in Seattle and on who he wants to exact some revenge, John knows no one in town and has no set plans. After a visit to the navy doctor, John is admitted to the hospital to await the result of some tests, during which he is granted Cinderella day liberty. After he gets clean bill of health, his ship has already left, meaning he is reassigned to another ship leaving in two weeks time. His stay on shore until another reassignment gets extended indefinitely for reasons outside his control, during which time he is forced to shore duty, most of those assignments which he doesn't much like. In his off time, he begins to insert himself into the life of Maggie Paul, a prostitute he met during that Cinderella liberty, and her eleven year old biracial son, Doug. Aside from what money she makes hooking and hustling at pool, Maggie and Doug live on welfare, the combined income which barely keeps them alive. Beyond his attraction to Maggie, John feels protective toward Doug, who is often forced to fend for himself as Maggie goes prowling her bar of choice to pick up other sailors. That protective feeling toward Doug is because John knows Doug has many issues in his life, the least of which is he constantly carrying a switchblade to show how tough he is or can be. John falls for the entire package that is Maggie and Doug. The question then becomes if they can make a go of it as a family, which is complicated by individual circumstances in John and Maggie's lives. Navy and government bureaucracy also plays a large part in what happens with the three in the long run.

  • Sailors I know can relate well to this film about port life, bar life, sex work and children victimized by some of the adult players. JAMES Caan brings a back home Baptist forgiveness to a prostitute with a son carrying a knife for protection from older street thugs. Marsha Mason performs flawlessly in the role of hooker, hustler, latch key mom and boozing pregnant woman on welfare. Navy & Social Work bureaucrats are the cause of this instant family of necessity. It's not a spoiler to hint that boot camp brutality is transformed by love and trading places. Buy or check out this film from decades ago for a romantic redemption of sailors stuck in Seattle


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