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...And now our feature presentation

Reefer Madness (1936)
AKA: Tell Your Children

Cast                                                                               Credits
Dorothy Short. . . . . .Mary                                              Distributed by. . . . . LS Video
Kenneth Craig. . . . . .Bill                                                 Director . . . . . . . . . Louis Gasnier
Lillian Miles . . . . . . . Blanche                                          Story by. . . . . . . . . Lawrence Meade
Dave O'Brien. . . . . . Ralph                                             Cinematography. . . .Jack Greenhalgh
Thelma White. . . . . . Mae                                               Edited by . . . . . . . .Carl Pierson
Warren McCullum. . .Jimmy                                            Sound by. . . . . . . . .Hans Weere
Josef Forte . . . . . . . .Dr. Carroll                                      Music by. . . . . . . . Abe Meyer
                                                           Run Time: 67 minutes

The possible ratings are as follows:

   Abysmal. Complete trash-- bad acting, writing, cinematography, etc.

   Bomb. One or two redeeming qualities, but inferior overall.

    Average. Not outstanding in most respects, but worth checking out.

    I had a ball. Solid acting, writing, cinematography, etc. Superior in many respects.

Excellent. A true classic. Few, if any, flaws.


Parents beware! There is a new threat to our children. No, it is not war. It is not disease. It is not pestilence. What could it be? It is "marihuana." It is more addictive than heroine. One puff and your sons will become stark-raving mad murderers and rapists. Your daughters will become tramps instantly. And, there is only one organization which can stop the spread of this menace--the parent/teachers' association. They alone will spread the word, raising consciousness, pushing legislation to save our children.

You now have a pretty good idea what Reefer Madness is all about. Dr. Carroll tells us the story of how not too long ago, nice young men's and women's lives were destroyed by marijuana use. The kids (Jimmy, Bill, and others) have found out how much fun it is to hang out at Mae's place. You see, Mae and Ralph are your friendly neighborhood drug dealers. Mae prefers the older clientelle, but Ralph sees a potential gold mine in high schoolers. At first, it's fun and games, but soon, it all turns very serious and very deadly. Mary winds up dead after her boyfriend, Bill, thinks he sees her making out with another guy, when in fact she was in the process of being raped. Bill rushes to fight the other guy because he has taken Bill's girl, so-to-speak. Atfer a brief scuffle, Mary is accidently shot, and somebody must pay.

In case you haven't heard, Reefer Madness is considered by most to be one of the worst films ever made, and make no mistake about it, it is a well earned reputation. The movie is bad in every aspect. The writing, direction, acting, sound, lighting, set design---everything is bad. In fact, everything is so bad it is comically bad, but the neat thing about this film is that it is in fact an important film. It is not important as a "movie" per se. Rather, the importance of this film is in what it reveals about the time in which it was made. It would be easy to say that this is just a propoganda film that distorts what the reality of the time was. However, propaganda of any kind almost always can give us a fairly accurate clue as to what fears lurked within the public when the propoganda was being cranked out. And, in fact, it was around this time that some serious drug legislation was passed. In this regard, films like Reefer Madness are very important historical cultural documents. You can laugh at the acting in these types of films, but you had better understand the power that they have.

This is a rather difficult film to rate. If I had to rate this film just on the cinematic aspects of it, it would get the lowest rating. However, I do feel that there is some greater importance to this film. For that reason, my rating:

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