Day 111: Reefer Madness (1936)

reefer madnessConsidering that today is April 20TH (4:20), I wanted to do something special for it considering I missed several opportunities on other days that come and past. Today is such a big day for potheads all over the world that I wanted to review a film that had something to do with it. In the 1930’s, Hollywood (probably enforced by the Government) started making propaganda films to scare people silly and so I chose one of those films in Reefer Madness for today’s film. There is a growing epidemic in the city and a high school principle (Joseph Forte) holds a parent/teacher meeting to address it. During the meeting, he tells a story of a gang who hold parties in their apartment where they invite teenage kids up to party with Marijuana and Jazz music. Everything is swell until a poor innocent girl is murdered at the duo’s apartment which in turn starts a downward spiral. The film stars Dorothy Short (Assassin Of Youth) as Mary, Kenneth Craig as Bill, Lillian Miles (The Knife Of The Party) as Blanche, Dave O’Brien (The Red Skelton Hour) as Ralph, Thelma White (Wanted By The Police) as Mae, Carleton Young (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) as Jack, and Warren McCollum (A Criminal Is Born) as Jimmy.

reeferOne of the things that makes me laugh is how ridiculous they say the side effects of Marihuana (that is how they spell Marijuana in the film) are. I have never heard of Marijuana making people want to kill anyone or make anyone go crazy. The one thing it does do that the film got right is that it does make you paranoid as hell. They were throwing accusations at it in the film where one character decides to rape a girl after he smoked, but it shows you how such they didn’t know about it back then. They treat marijuana in this film like it’s worse than Heroin, smack, or anything else that is out there. I’ve seen other drugs have worse effects on people than Marijuana has, but I am not about to debate what the plus/minuses are to it. We are here to merely review a propaganda film that completely felt like one the whole time. The acting wasn’t terrible, but no one educated these actors on how to properly make it look like you are smoking marijuana. That made me laugh every time they would light one up, it looks like a person who smokes a cigarette for the first time, but isn’t inhaling because he doesn’t know how to. Those were the kind of things that made me laugh including the way they looked when they smoked. It was like I was watching Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Anyways, I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade due to effort. This film scared me straight.