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Damaged Lives (1933)

An extramarital affair leads to a young couple contracting venereal disease.



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Cast overview:
Diane Sinclair ...
Joan Bradley
Lyman Williams ...
Donald Bradley Jr.
Nat Franklin
Laura Hall
Dr. Bill Hall (as Jason Robards)
Charlotte Merriam ...
Elise Cooper
Murray Kinnell ...
Dr. Vincent Leonard
Donald Bradley Sr.
Mrs. Bradley


An extramarital affair leads to a young couple contracting venereal disease.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved by CANADIAN SOCIAl HYGIENCE COUNCIL (on all eight original lobby cards in Canada) See more »








Release Date:

13 June 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dark Waters  »

Box Office


$10,000 (estimated)


$1,800,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the film's credits say it was produced and released by Weldon Pictures, it was actually filmed and distributed by Columbia. Weldon Pictures was a dummy company set up by Columbia, which didn't want to be associated with the film's topic, syphilis. Producer Nat Cohn was the brother of Columbia's head, Harry Cohn. See more »

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User Reviews

Serious 1933 film about the horrors and dangers of Venereal Disease that may surprise you
12 February 2005 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

(Some Spoilers) Early 1930's educational movie about the horrors of contracting a social disease and the consequences that come along with it: blindness madness loss of ones abilities to function as well as infecting other people with it, even one's unborn children, and finally death. "Damaged Lives" is far ahead of it's times in educating it's viewers about the dangers Venereal Deasise. viewed now over 70 years after it's release back in 1933 is as good, if not better, then the many films about that subject made back in the 1940's 1950's and even 1960's.

Donald Bradley, Lyman Williams, is a top executive of a major shipping company who's been going study with his girlfriend Joan, Diane Sinclair, for some time. both are finally planing to get married and raise a family. Out at a party one evening Donald meets Elsie Cooper, Charlotte Merriam, and together they have one drink too many and before you know it end up spending the night together in Elsie's home.

Thinking nothing of his one night stand with Elsie Donald later marries his long time love Joan and they both plan to have a child, or so they thought. At the office Donald get a panicked call from Elsie telling him to come over to her place right away about something very important. Rushing over Donald finds out, to his horror, that Elsie has a sexual infection that she got from her boyfriend Nat, Harry Myers, and that she may have given it to Donald, and he in turn may have infected his wife Joan. Telling Elsie that she's wrong about him being infected and that she should seek medical attention Elsie shoots herself as Donald is just about to leave.

Getting over Elsie's tragic death Donald gets another surprise later when his doctor Dr. Bill Hill, Jason Robards Sr, comes over to his office telling him to immediately come with him to the hospital to talk to Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Vincent Leonard, Murray Kinnell, about his wife Joan who's just been admitted there. The terrible truth about Donald and his wife Joan hits him like a bolt out of the blue and leaves him speechless, just like it did Joan earlier. Both have been infected and the infection is the dreaded and unspeakable,back in the 1930's, infection called Venereal Disease.

Told by Dr. Leonard that it would take some two years of treatment for both Donald and Joan to be completely cured it leaves Joan in a state of dangerous suicidal thoughts. Later in the film Joan, feeling that she has nothing to live for, closes all the windows in her and Donald's apartment and turns on the gas stove, full blast, in order to kill herself and Donald who was asleep at the time.

Honest film about the ravages of Venereal Disease and the damage that it does to those who are infected by it, both psychically as well as mentally, and how it could be cured if given immediate medical care instead of hiding it from one's doctor and keeping it hidden, for fear of shame and embarrassment, until it's too late.

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