Aboard the freighter Glencairn, the lives of the crew are lived out in fear, loneliness, suspicion and cameraderie. The men smuggle drink and women aboard, fight with each other, spy on ... See full summary »
Several servicemen relax by playing pool, but one of them goes off to spend time with a prostitute. Later, he discovers he has contracted a venereal disease. A graphic and frank presentation of the types and treatment of venereal disease follows. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Almost turned me off sex. Not quite, but almost . . .
Any GI who has ever seen this film never forgets it. Even though it was made in 1941, it was shown to new soldiers on a regular basis for at least 29 years. I saw it in 1968, when I enlisted, and I know of one ex-GI who saw it when he joined up in 1970. It could well be showing now, for all I know.
Although there were other military training films that covered this particular subject, the main difference between this and the others is that it's far better produced and acted than virtually any other training film ever made. It was directed by John Ford, produced by Darryl Zanuck, and featured such professional Hollywood actors as Robert Lowery, Charles Trowbridge and George Reeves. If that wasn't enough to set it apart from the run-of-the-mill training film, then the footage of diseased faces, lips and other body parts was. Even more horrifying than that, though (for a newly enlisted 18- or 19-year-old, at least) was the footage of what someone who was suspected of having syphilis (which, by 1941 morality, meant anyone who had sexual contact of any kind) had to go through. Soldiers were required to report any sexual contact they had, and if there was any possibility that they may have been infected with syphilis, they were then examined by a doctor and given preventive "treatment" which involved a procedure too graphic and, frankly, too nauseating to describe here. The film served its purpose, temporarily at least--if Hedy Lamar and Betty Grable had shown up naked outside the theater after this film was shown, no soldier would have gone within 50 feet of them (of course, that would have lasted for all of 10 minutes . . . )
Anyway, I don't recommend this for anyone with a weak stomach. Or a strong stomach. Or a VERY strong stomach. The footage of the effects of syphilis is extremely hard to take--which, after all, was the whole point of showing them.
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