This unabashed propaganda film is most popularly known as Reefer Madness, but originally known by the title Tell Your Children, a dead giveaway, has become a cult classic of comically bad cinema due to its dated, alarmist views on the dangers of “marijuana addiction” and the exaggerated symptoms thereof. After the onscreen prologue that declares “Something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace,” Reefer Madness launches into a case study of clean-cut WASP couple Bill (Kenneth Craig) and Mary (Dorothy Short), high schoolers who play tennis and drink tea on the back porch. Their friend Jimmy (Warren McCollum) introduces them to a pot dealer named Jack (Carleton Young), who invites Bill up to his den of inequity, where stoned ne’er-do-wells laugh fiendishly, dance, and play the piano. After one joint, Bill is hooked, and his life begins to plummet down the tubes — he starts flunking school and becomes a promiscuous regular in Jack’s apartment. When a worried Mary tracks Bill down, she too is given a joint and begins giggling uncontrollably while being aggressively fondled by the bizarre addict Ralph (Dave “Tex” O’Brien). When Bill bursts out of the bedroom to tangle with Ralph, hallucinating and blacking out, Mary is accidentally shot. This prompts a string of guilt and calamitous occurrences, including several more deaths and courtroom sentences to mental institutions, all because of the devil weed. The film ends with the ominous warning, “The dread marijuana may be reaching forth next for your son or YOURS!” Note: some minor enhancement work was done to improve the quality of the old source picture and soundtrack. Nothing was added or removed.

 

 

ABOUT THIS MOVIE Genre: Drama Language: English Age rating: N/A (would likely get a PG-13 rating at this point) Released: 1936 Quality: 480

*CAST & CREW* CAST

  • Dorothy Short
  • Mary Kenneth Craig
  • Bill Dave O’Brien (David “Tex” O’Brien)
  • Ralph Carleton Young
  • Jack Warren McCullum (Warren McCollum)
  • Jimmy Josef Forte
  • Dr. Carroll DIRECTOR Louis Gasnier (Louis J. Gasnier)
  • PRODUCER George A. Hirliman
  • WRITERS Lawrence Meade Arthur Hoerl Paul Franklin