Arrow Video: Daddy's Girl: Toys Are Not for Children (1972) - Reviewed

"You are a whore, aren't you? I think that's wonderful!"

Toys Are Not for Children (1972) has an extremely lurid premise: an emotionally unstable young woman named Jamie (Marcia Forbes) has a strange fixation on her absentee father who left when she was only a child. She acts very childish and innocent. While working at a toy store she meets a handsome man named Eddie (Luis Arroyo) and they eventually get married. Due to her hang-ups about her father, Jamie is unable to be sexually intimate with her husband. Jamie becomes friends with an aging sex worker named Pearl (Evelyn Kingsley) and eventually she starts to dabble in the world of turning tricks to satisfy her "daddy urges".

Although this film sounds like it would be a sleazy sexploitation film on paper, in execution it's actually a dark psychological character piece. The low budget feel and look imparts a rawness to the aesthetic that might make it seem trashy on the surface, but the way the narrative is constructed is ingenious. The perspective of the film constantly goes from the past to the present, often going back-and-forth in the same scene. Jamie is shown both as a child and an adult and it's depicted in such a way as to inform the audience how events that happened to her as a young girl shaped the woman she became as an adult. Additionally, the sound design is used cleverly to make wholesome scenes of a father and daughter spending time together have a sinister connotations.

That is not to say that Toys Are Not for Children doesn't have trashier elements--the film starts out with adult Jamie getting caught by her mother masturbating with a toy that her father gave her and there are tons of other scenes that will have most viewers feeling very uncomfortable. There is not as much nudity as one would anticipate with an exploitation film but some of the sex scenes will definitely have people squirming in their seats. Jamie is a complex character, as she does have a lot of agency in the story, but her psychological issues manifest themselves into behavior that isn't healthy for her. 

One could take issue with this film for demonizing sexual fetishes, specifically DDLG (Daddy Dom Little Girl) but the context around why Jamie feels compelled to indulge in this type of sexual play is nuanced. She idolizes her father because he left when she was a little girl and she has placed him on a pedestal even though he was cheating on her mother with sex workers and that's why he was kicked out of the house. The story has shades of the Greek tragedy about Myrrha, a woman who was sexually attracted to her father.

While this film is extremely well made for its limited budget, the acting could be better though Marcia Forbes puts in a great performance as the child-like Jamie and it's easy to really feel for her situation and eventual outcome. Outside of a few technical issues, however, this is a solid, well-made character piece about a woman in arrested development who never gets the chance to be a self-actualized adult. 


-Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
-High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentation
-Original uncompressed mono audio
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Heather Drain
-Newly-filmed appreciation by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower
-‘Dirty’ Dolls: Femininity, Perversion and Play - a brand new video essay by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas 
-Original theme song “Lonely Am I”, newly transferred from the original 45-RPM vinyl single
-Original Trailer
-Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Vanity Celis

--Michelle Kisner