3.8/10
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119 user 74 critic

Reefer Madness (1936)

Tell Your Children (original title)
PG | | Drama, Thriller | 1938 (USA)
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1:45 | Trailer

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Cautionary tale features a fictionalized 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:

Louis J. Gasnier (as Louis Gasnier)

Writers:

Lawrence Meade (original story), Arthur Hoerl (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Short Dorothy Short ... Mary
Kenneth Craig Kenneth Craig ... Bill
Lillian Miles Lillian Miles ... Blanche
Dave O'Brien ... Ralph
Thelma White ... Mae
Carleton Young ... Jack
Warren McCollum ... Jimmy (as Warren McCullom)
Patricia Royale Patricia Royale ... Agnes (as Pat Royale)
Joseph Forte Joseph Forte ... Dr. Carroll (as Josef Forte)
Harry Harvey Jr. Harry Harvey Jr. ... Junior
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Storyline

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:

The Sweet "Pill" That Makes Life BITTER! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dope Addict See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Inspired by the case of Victor Licata, who killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister with an ax in Tampa, Florida on October 16, 1933, allegedly while under the influence of marijuana. Declared unfit to stand trial for reasons of insanity, subsequent psychiatric examination at the Florida State Mental Hospital determined that Licata suffered from schizophrenia with homicidal tendencies. The Licata case was used to propagandize for the passage of the federal Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that effectively outlawed legal sales of the "demon weed". See more »

Goofs

Obvious dummy in the suicide scene. See more »

Quotes

Opening Scroll: FORWARD: 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...
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 »

Alternate Versions

The scene of Hotfinger toking up in the closet at the restaurant, and Mary getting lit by Ralph, were censored from some prints. See more »

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User Reviews

 
That's pretty swell...
25 January 2002 | by saugoofSee 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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