3.8/10
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103 user 66 critic

Reefer Madness (1936)

Tell Your Children (original title)
PG | | Drama | 1938 (USA)
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Cautionary tale features a fictionalized and highly exaggerated 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.

Director:

(as Louis Gasnier)

Writers:

(original story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Short ...
...
Lillian Miles ...
...
Thelma White ...
Mae
...
Jack
Warren McCollum ...
Jimmy (as Warren McCullom)
Patricia Royale ...
Agnes (as Pat Royale)
Joseph Forte ...
Dr. Carroll (as Josef Forte)
Harry Harvey Jr. ...
Junior
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Storyline

Propaganda film that relates the story, as told by high school principal Dr. Carroll to parents at a PTA meeting, of the scourge of marijuana. The tale revolves around Mae and Jack, accomplices in the distribution of marijuana, who manage to entice the local high school kids to stop by Mae's apartment to smoke reefer. The lives of all who are involved with this menace are inevitably shattered. One man becomes so addicted to the killer weed that the guilt over framing a teen for murder causes a judge to order him to be committed for life to a mental hospital! Dr. Carroll closes by advising us to not incur the same tragedy. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Drug Crazed Abandon! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dope Addict  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to author John Cocchi in his book "Second Feature" actress Thelma White told him she was loaned in 1938 from RKO to do the film. According to her, the film was written by a religious group and shot in three weeks. See more »

Goofs

When Mrs. Lane serves hot chocolate to Mary and Bill, the kettle spout is pointing in different directions between shots. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Carroll: I'm going to ask you a straightforward question: isn't it true that you have, perhaps unwillingly, acquired a certain habit through association with certain undesirable people?
See more »

Crazy Credits

FOREWORD: The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly-increasing numbers. Marihuana is that drug - a violent narcotic - an unspeakable scourge - The Real Public Enemy Number One! Its first effect is sudden, violent, uncontrollable laughter; then come dangerous hallucinations - space expands - time slows down, almost stands still ....fixed ideas come next, conjuring up monstrous extravagances - followed by emotional disturbances, the total inability to direct thoughts, the loss of all power to resist physical emotions... leading finally to acts of shocking violence... ending often in incurable insanity. In picturing its soul-destroying effects no attempt was made to equivocate. The scenes and incidents, while fictionized for the purposes of this story, are based upon actual research into the results of Marihuana addiction. If their stark reality will make you think, will make you aware that something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace, then the picture will not have failed in its purpose.... Because the dread Marihuana may be reaching forth next for your son or daughter....or yours....or YOURS! See more »

Connections

Featured in Reefer Madness: Grass Roots (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
That's pretty swell...
25 January 2002 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

I doubt that anyone still takes this movie seriously these days but it's funny seeing how people went paranoid about pot in the 30's. There are lots of wildly exaggerated or plain wrong comments and accusations in it. Best among them are that pot is more dangerous than Heroin, it will make you violent and eventually incurably insane.

The film details how smoking pot changes the lives of a couple of all-american teenagers. In fact, they're so clean cut, nice to their parents and just plain perfect that you're actually happy when their lives turn bad. On the way there we see some really funny overacting and the way that middle America thought people behaved after smoking pot. A single puff immediately has you in hysterics, after a couple of minutes it's down to pre-marital sex (hey, that's enough to get me hooked!), followed by a violent paranoia and finally of course, insanity.

The film is fairly standard propaganda stuff and follows the three important propaganda ingredients to a T. It's badly acted, exaggerated in hammering home a couple of points and frightening the uninformed about the fact that no one is safe from this great danger. It is however fairly lengthy for a propaganda movie and it's not as ridiculous as I expected. Although there are some really funny scenes that rightly make this a classic.


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