3.8/10
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120 user 74 critic

Reefer Madness (1936)

Tell Your Children (original title)
PG | | Crime, Drama | 1938 (USA)
Trailer
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:

65 years later, audiences are still hooked! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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

The origins of this film have been the subject of controversy. Although this film is not in the copyrighted registry, the opening card reads: Formerly "Tell Your Children" - An G and H Production - Copyrighted" (though without a copyright date). American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films 1931-1939 establishes its production date as 1938, even though some erroneous modern sources, including IMDb, apparently confusing it with some similar film, occasionally, but erroneously, give 1936. Some say it was produced by a church group in the wake of the Victor Licata 1933 murder case. Dwain Esper sued a distribution company in the 1960s, claiming that he had produced the film for the US Army and that he was the legal copyright owner. He lost the case. See more »

Goofs

During the conversation between Dr Carrol and the man from the FBI, there is mention of a case involving a young woman found in the company of five men. The FBI man introduces the case as being from Michigan, then later says that it took place in West Virginia. See more »

Quotes

[Blanche introduces Bill to Mae]
Blanche: This is Bill Harper. He's okay.
[Mae travels to other room]
Mae: There's a new one in today.
Jack: Yeah - Bill Harper. He's all right.
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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

20th Century Fox DVD release flashes "420" on the screen for a couple of frames when Billy first enters Mae and Jack's apartment. This is in both the black-and-white and colorized versions on the disc. See more »

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User Reviews

laughed my ass off
12 December 2004 | by kilyth_at_beer_dot_comSee all my reviews

Well last night my friend and I smoked some of the demon weed and watched Reefer Madness. It was so obvious that it was made by people who had not only never been stoned, but had never even seen someone who was stoned. For a start the dancing in the apartment; Impossible! I couldn't move my legs. My friend and I figured out that the only way someone smoking dope could rob somewhere would be to go into a shop to buy munchies, pick up a banana and absent mindedly hold it like it was a gun, then get distracted by the sweets at the counter. When the cashier asked if they wanted anything else they stared at the sweets and said "Give me everything".

While I know from my own research that Cannabis has been linked, however tenuously, to certain mental problems so has sugar, coffee alcohol and television. But what I do know for certain is that while on dope you are incapable of hurting anybody else, even if they are hogging all the munchies.


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