August 2nd, 2013: Tell Your Children aka Reefer Madness (1936)

Reefer Madness

What It’s About: Nice guy gets lured into trying drugs by evil pushers, nice guy does it once and is hooked, nice guy loses everything.   

Why Watch it Today?: The Marijuana Taxation Act passed today in 1937.  Although the act did not prohibit marijuana, it was the first regulation by the Federal government upon it.  Reefer Madness is a hysterical look (in both senses of the world) at the dangers of Marijuana use, one of a serious of “educational” films that really existed for a more illicit purpose-to pack in glimpses of sex, drug use, and violence, that were not allowed into mainstream Hollywood films of the era thanks to the Hayes Code.  The filmmakers generally pushed aside any objections by suggesting that the films were for the education of the audience, though today Reefer Madness is widely known because it was found to be hilarious by the Midnight Movie crowd of the 1970s, who revived it and laughed at it’s inaccurate depiction of Marijuana use.

 Other Choices:  Two years ago we featured a 1980s take on Marijuana hysteria-Quiet Cool, which features James Remar as a tough NY cop who has to take on….Marijuana growers!

No trailer, but you can watch the entire movie on YouTube:

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