Reefer Madness: Wikis

  
  
  

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Reefer Madness

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Louis Gasnier
Produced by Dwain Esper
Written by Paul Franklin
Starring Dorothy Short
Kenneth Craig
Lillian Miles
Dave O'Brien
Thelma White
Warren McCollum
Carleton Young
Distributed by Motion Picture Ventures
New Line Cinema (rerelease)
Release date(s) January 15, 1936
Running time 68 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100,000

Reefer Madness (aka Tell Your Children) is a 1936 American exploitation film revolving around the tragic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try "marihuana": a hit and run accident, manslaughter, suicide, rape, and descent into madness all ensue. The film was directed by Louis Gasnier and starred a cast composed of mostly unknown bit actors. It was originally financed by a church group and made under the title Tell Your Children.[1][2]

The film was intended to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them about the dangers of cannabis use.[1] However, soon after the film was shot, it was purchased by producer Dwain Esper, who re-cut the film for distribution on the exploitation film circuit.[1] The film did not gain an audience until it was rediscovered in the 1970s and gained new life as a piece of unintentional comedy among cannabis smokers.[1][3] Today, it is in the public domain in the United States and is considered a cult film.[3] It inspired a musical satire, which premiered off-Broadway in 2001, and a Showtime film, Reefer Madness, based on the musical.

Contents

Plot

Cast

History

"If you want a good smoke, try one of these."

Tell Your Children was financed by a church group and intended to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them about the dangers of cannabis use.[1][2] Soon after the film was shot, however, it was purchased by notorious exploitation filmmaker Dwain Esper, who took the liberty of cutting in salacious insert shots and applying the more scandalous title of Reefer Madness, before distributing it on the exploitation circuit.[1] Such education-exploitation films were common in the years following adoption of the stricter version of the Production Code in 1934. Other films included Esper's own Marihuana (1936) and Elmer Clifton's Assassin of Youth (1937), and the subject of cannabis was particularly popular in the hysteria surrounding Anslinger's 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

The film was reissued under a number of alternate titles, including The Burning Question, Dope Addict, Doped Youth and Love Madness.[3] The concept of after-market films in film distribution had not yet been developed, especially for films that existed outside the confines of the studio system, and were therefore considered "forbidden fruit." For this reason, neither Esper nor the original filmmakers bothered to protect the film's copyright, and it eventually fell into the public domain.[1]

In 1971, Reefer Madness was discovered in the Library of Congress archives by NORML founder Keith Stroup, who bought a print for $297, and made it the darling of pot smokers and college campuses. For this modern audience, the poor production values and overacting create an uproarious comedy. Distributing Reefer Madness to college campuses of the 1970s helped bankroll the burgeoning film company New Line Cinema.[1][3]

Today, Reefer Madness is considered to be a cult classic, and one of the best examples of a midnight movie. Its fans enjoy the film for the same unintentionally campy production values that made it a hit in the 1970s.[3] Sean Abley's stage adaptation, Reefer Madness, ran for a year in Chicago in 1992.[4] The film was spoofed in a musical of the same name, which was later made into a made-for-television film in 2005, which featured major actors such as Alan Cumming, Kristen Bell, Christian Campbell, and Ana Gasteyer.[5]

Release history

A scene from the colorized version of the film.

In 2004, 20th Century Fox, in collaboration with Legend Films, released a colorized version of the film on DVD.[6] The original release date was April 20, 2004 (4/20/2004), a reference to the drug slang term "420." Also during the film, the number "4" and then "20" is flashed very quickly (as a joke on subliminal messages), which is an effect added by Legend Films. The color version features intentionally unrealistic color schemes that add to the film's unintentionally campy humor. The smoke from the "marihuana" was made to appear green, blue, orange, and purple, each person's colored smoke representing their mood and the different "levels of 'addiction'".[2]

The DVD also included a short film called Grandpa's Marijuana Handbook, a new trailer for Reefer Madness, produced by Legend Films, and two audio commentaries, one discussing the color design and the other being a comedic commentary by Michael J. Nelson, formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame. Legend Films owns the copyright to the colorized version of Reefer Madness. While most have praised the new color version for its campy treatment of the cult film, some viewers claimed that the color choices would better suit a film about LSD than a film about cannabis.[7] A DivX file of the colorized version with the commentary embedded is available as part of Nelson's RiffTrax On Demand service.[8] In 2009, a newly-recorded commentary by Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett was released by RiffTrax.[9]

The DVD release of the 2005 TV movie has the original film as a bonus feature.

See also

References

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Reefer Madness is a 1936 cult film about a group of young students whose tragic downfall is apparently caused by their marijuana use.

Directed by Louis Gasnier. Written by Arthur Hoerl.
It's Public Enemy, Number One!Taglines

Contents

Characters

  • Jack: Oh, why don't you button up your lip? You're always squawkin' about something. You've got more static than a radio.

Dialogue

Mae: What time is it?
Jack: Time to get up and give this place the goin' over. It looks like the Marines have landed.
Mae: Well, that bunch last night was high enough to take over the Marines and the Navy!

Jimmy: How about driving over to the... Joe's place with me? I'll buy you a soda!
Bill: I never drink the stuff!

[Jimmy finishes a reefer before driving.]
Jimmy: Let's go, Jack. I'm red-hot!
Jack: Better be careful how you drive, or the first thing you know you'll be ice-cold.

Bureau Official: Here is an example: A fifteen-year-old lad apprehended in the act of staging a holdup — fifteen years old and a marijuana addict. Here is a most tragic case.
Dr. Carroll: Yes, I remember. Just a young boy... under the influence of drugs... who killed his entire family with an axe.

Taglines

  • It's Public Enemy, Number One!
  • Women Cry For It - Men Die For It!
  • The Sweet "Pill" That Makes Life BITTER!
  • Adults Only!
  • Drug Crazed Abandon!
  • Sin - degradation - vice - insanity!
  • SEE youthful marijuana victims - what actually happens!
  • Tell your children!
  • 65 years later, audiences are still hooked!

External links

Wikipedia
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