Tell Your Children (1936)

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Tell Your Children: Directed by Louis J. Gasnier. With Dorothy Short, Kenneth Craig, Lillian Miles, Dave O’Brien. 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.

“Believe it or not, but I just bought this a couple of days ago on DVD for a little over six bucks! And trust me, Reefer Madness is worth the money, since it is one of the funnier propaganda films to come out of the 1930s. While the DVD doesnu0026#39;t contain a lot of extras, you do get a short biography on the star of the film, along with a look at the original poster for Reefer Madness and trivia questions! If you want to check this movie out some time, I would advise waiting until the Special Edition comes out in April. Why? Because MST3k host Mike Nelson will provide audio commentary for the film! Iu0026#39;ll definitely have to get the new DVD if Nelson himself is involved. And really, this film is rife for commentary. Right from the start we got a pre-Star Wars crawl which basically states while the filmu0026#39;s characters and plot are entirely fictional, they are based on a true story which could happen to you…or you…or YOU! It is here where I laughed the hardest, as later on things get pretty grim in a Days of Our Lives sort of way. I especially liked how the word u0026quot;marijuanau0026quot; was spelled u0026quot;marihuanau0026quot; in the film. I have no idea when or why the spelling of this word changed, but it was still amusing. Also, the DVDu0026#39;s scene index lists one of the scenes as u0026quot;principleu0026#39;s office.u0026quot; They couldnu0026#39;t even spell the word u0026quot;principalu0026quot; right! I mean, you canu0026#39;t actually go to the office of a principle, can you? Darn right ya canu0026#39;t! Anyway, back to the movie. As I said, itu0026#39;s a very enthusiastic propaganda film which lies back and forth about the effects of u0026quot;marihuanau0026quot; so as to scare parents into discussing the drug with their children (hence the original title, Tell Your Children…think of them, please!!!). What are some of the effects of the deadly, demonic, and just plain EVIL marihuana? Well, first you laugh (gasp!), then hallucinate (double gasp!), and then you begin committing acts of random violence (triple gasp!). The teens are all portrayed by men and women with receding hairlines and wrinkles, making me quite confused. I literally sat there wondering, u0026quot;Why would adults be hanging out with these younger kids? Oh…theyu0026#39;re all supposed to be kids? Um, okay, sure. What the heck.u0026quot; The principal (principle?) in the movie is equally funny, as during the murder trial of a kid who smoked dope and supposedly shot his girlfriend he lists many instances when he thought the kid was high. His testimony: Bill started laughing during a very serious discussion on Shakespeare (blasphemy!), and also missed the ball by a good 3-4 feet during a tennis match (good holy gravy!). How would this kind of testimony hold up in court? Maybe the kid just remembered a good joke during class and isnu0026#39;t any good at tennis? Did anyone think of that, huh? Huh? As for the murder itself, itu0026#39;s also completely moronic and unbelievable. First off, the gun is aimed at the floor but somehow manages to shoot the girl in the back. Then when we see the wound itu0026#39;s about the size of a mosquito bite with no blood whatsoever. Ah, the wonders of 1930s Hollywood makeup! Much more awaits the viewer of Reefer Madness, including a crazed piano player whou0026#39;s u0026quot;hotu0026quot; on the u0026quot;dopeu0026quot; and about to u0026quot;cracku0026quot; (these kids with their drug lingo!) and an odd scene where the main characteru0026#39;s little brother pines about his model airplane for what seems like an eternity. Seeing as how this story is supposedly being related to us by the principal, why would he have bothered to include the aforementioned scene? And how did he know about it in the first place? Did he interrogate the little brother? Hoo boy, so many questions about continuity. Oh well, I guess Iu0026#39;ll leave them to be answered by you good folks. Enjoy! 1/4 stars”

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