Reefer Madness Film Details
Overview: Cautionary tale features a fictionalized take on the use of marijuana. A trio of drug dealers lead innocent teenagers to become addicted to “reefer” cigarettes by holding wild parties with jazz music.
Tagline: PUBLIC ENEMY No. 1. WOMEN CRY FOR IT…MEN WILL DIE FOR IT!
Review: Originally intended for parents as an educational video against the dangers of marijuana. ‘Tell Your Children’, AKA ‘Reefer Madness’, also sometimes titled as ‘The Burning Question’, ‘Dope Addict’, ‘Doped Youth’, and ‘Love Madness’, was so far-fetch in propaganda and false accusations against the drug that, even Afterschool Specials are pointing and laughing at them. It’s a film everybody loves to mock! Directed by Louis Gasnier and produce by Dwain Esper, the exploitation educational film is so extreme with its anti-drug message, that it’s hard to believe, that this film was once originally financed by a concerned church group. No really! For a 1930s movie, this movie is intense, due to the large amounts of over-the-top violence and sexuality! Scenes of hit and run accidents, manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness are all fabricated here, due to marijuana addiction. They really went overboard with this! The side effects portray in this film are highly exaggerated to the point that it’s laughable. It’s so misinformed. The times has really changed since then. Information about the drug is much more positive than negative. While recreational pot usage is still a controversial topic, many people today agree more with America’s new stance on the drug being legal for medical uses. After all, more and more people use it, today, than any other period and clearly, the side effects are not as bad, as they first thought. While, yes, it might cause some people dizziness, loss of time, paranoia, depression, anxiety, increased appetite, low sperm court, birth defects, breathing problems, and others, but also studies show that smoking or chewing pot, can help control cancer, epileptic seizures, eases the pain of multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and might slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis. It’s even used for mental health for people suffering from PTSDs, suicide and dementia. It’s seem by the amount of research, that I found, the pros outdo the cons. While, nobody should think that drugs are cool. It’s just so fun to see just how extreme some people will go to convince us that even the most harmless of drugs are the worst things in the world. I really can’t believe that some people still believe that marijuana is more harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. That message is so warped, out of its mind! A good example of that, is from this movie with ad for Pabst’s Blue Ribbon Beer being shown during the car chase. Wow! I guess, this movie never heard of drunk-driving, before. It’s also disturbing to see the two leads, Bill Harper (Kenneth Craig) and Mary Lane (Dorothy Short), being depicted as incredibly square even for 1930s standards yet they are shown to smoke regular cigarettes, even before they get introduced to pot by the drug pushers, Jack Perry (Carleton Young) and Mae Coleman (Thelma White). What the hell! If you didn’t think that, was bad. There is actual cigarette ad in the background! It’s a bit irony that both Dorothy Short & Kenneth Craig died years later from some form of cancer. Despite that, the acting is this film was alright, even if they were all acting a bit silly. One character was a bit annoying was Dr. Carroll (Josef Forte). He was such a scene hog. Nevertheless, the plot of the film is also a problem. It was a bit slow. There seem to be a lot of long, pointless shots in the movie, such as Bill dropping his book, picking it up, and dusting it off. Even the opening text takes forever to get through. If that wasn’t bad enough, the movie failed so badly at its moral message that it’s counterproductive. After all, it might not have been the best idea to start the film by giving detailed instructions on how to make and even smuggle joints. Then, there is the fact that some of the characters in the film, got away with crimes, which is unheard of, in Hays Code 1930s. I think the funniest part, is Jack loudly explaining to Mae, how to frame Billy, while he was in the same room. That was just strange and hokey. It’s impossible to take the plot, seriously with all the plot-holes, this film has. If that wasn’t bad enough for the film makers and producers. Soon after the film release, the movie lose its copyright claim and since then, belong in the public domain. This means that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a DVD copy of this. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely or badly edited. Since many of them, come from extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation copies. So don’t count on the audio and film footage to be good. Not only that, but it had a lot of scratches, and grains in the film footage. So watch out for that. Even with the film, being over 70 years old. I still have to give some people, credit. The 20th Century Fox, in collaboration with Legend Films, 2004’s colorized version was oddly fun to watch. The intentionally unrealistic color schemes add to the film’s unintentionally campy humor. I also love how it inspires a 2005’s musical satire with the same name. Now that was a blast to watch. Overall: The original black and white movie was alright watch, but it’s not as funny as people make it out to be. It’s more like an oddities. A freak show, that deserve one viewing and that’s all. So check it out. If you like this movie, go ahead and check out, Esper’s other works in the education-exploitation field: 1936’s ‘Marihuana’ & 1937’s ‘Assassin of Youth’. They’re also worth the watch. ‘Highly’ recommended.
Duration: 66 min
Genre: Crime, Drama
Also known as: Reefer Madness,Narkotykowe szalenstwo,A Loucura da Ganza,The Burning Question,A Porta da Loucura,Dope Addict,Doped Youth,Love Madness,Лудостта на тревата,Tell Your Children,Zombi 24: Undead Pothead Maniacs,Stupéfiants,リーファー・マッドネス 麻薬中毒者の狂気,Прокуренные Мозги