|Index||3 reviews in total|
Yes, the director of the amazing "All Quiet on the Western Front" made an educational film about syphilis. Don't expect art, this thing is pretty atrocious, but hilarious, especially the flagrant Italian stereotype in the opening. "It was just a little sore!" If you're wondering how Lewis Milestone wound up "reduced" to this, it's actually his contribution to the war effort in the '40s, later re-edited into an educational film for America's Youth. The original is, to my knowledge, currently unavailable and probably lost. Not that we miss it, but it's sort of too bad. This can be found, in its "safe-for-schoolkids" form, on the "Educational Film Archives: Sex and Drugs" DVD from Fantoma.
This film is not in the league with "Sex Madness" and other exploitation films. Instead of trying to scare people away from a problem, it explained how to avoid or treat it. It is melodramatic, but well acted with good production. Tim Holt, Ward Bond and J. Carroll Naish appear as victims, and Lewis Milestone directed.(I image there were a lot of outtakes, though, when the actors couldn't help laughing when they had to say things like "I noticed a sore...down there.") I'm not old enough to remember syphilis--or patent medicine "doctors"--being a big problem, but I appreciate this film as a slice of the social history of our past.
If you are a fan of classic Hollywood films, then you might get a lot
out of seeing this film--about, of all things, sexually transmitted
diseases. Why? Because seeing J. Carroll Naish, Ward Bond and Tim Holt
all playing guys with VD is such a shocker--after all, these guys and
many other famous character actors appear in this seldom-seen film.
As far as the actual quality of the film goes, it is of dubious quality. While some of the information is quite correct, the preachy style probably resulted in many laughing off the important information in this short film. In addition, Naish should have been ashamed of himself for playing such an incredibly stereotypical Italian-American. It was almost as bad as having Chico Marx playing the part.
Well worth seeing for fans of the strange and obscure.
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