Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Assassin of Youth
This movie is one of a group of about five or six drug related propaganda films released between 1932 and 1938. The most commonly known of this group is the classic "Reefer Madness", which has been restored, colorized, and re-released on it's own special edition DVD. Few people know about the other companion films, such as "Cocaine Fiends", "The Marijuana Menace AKA Assassin of Youth", "Sex Madness" and "Marihuana". In fact, most of these films have many of the same actors. This particular group of movies are hard to find, but if you really wanna know where to find these long lost classics, please feel free to contact me, the one and only Cultfiend, right here on Cultarama. We'll get to all of them, but today we are gonna discuss Assassin of Youth AKA The Marijuana Menace. Much like Reefer Madness, this cheap ass film was made with honest intentions about warning kids about "the dreaded devil weed call Marijuana!". Also like Reefer Madness, it's "true facts" of marijuana consumption are completely absent and are replaced with an unbelievable scenario including total insanity and extremely violent behavior. Anyone who has ever smoked pot or knows someone who smokes pot can agree that it doesn't cause violent behavior... Well, I guess with the exception of being mugged and robbed of your Visine and cookie dough. Anyway, like Reefer Madness, this movie begins with a written message against that terrible scourge that is annihilating Americas youth... the dreaded Marijuana!!! A young girl named Joan Barry stands to inherit the family fortune, much to the dismay of her cousin Linda and younger sister Marjorie. This inheritance has an unfortunate clause in it. Joan must prove herself to be a proper respectable person in order to receive her inheritance. Linda is a reefer dealer and supplies almost everyone in town. Marjorie is a regular customer of Linda's. Linda and her accomplice Jack decide that they are gonna make Joan look like shit so that the inheritance will go to Linda instead of Joan. Their plan begins at an innocent beach party where everyone but Joan is getting stoned and going swimming. Linda pushes Joan into the water and tries to dry her clothes over a fire and burns them, leaving poor Joan with no clothes. This doesn't settle well when she arrives home in just an overcoat. Rumors begin to fly and all sorts of stories are spread all over town. My favorite was that she got naked and danced to hula!" It was 1937, today that would be the same as if she screwed the entire attendance of the party in front of small children. A funny side note is that whenever you see any of these people driving, it's beyond crazy. The worst of drunks would be considered outstanding drivers in comparison. A new bartender named Art shows up in town and becomes employed at an after school hangout. He's also a reporter, doing research on dope dealing and the insanity that follows. It's soon made obvious that Linda and Jack are conspiring to make Joan look as scandalous as possible so that Linda can have the inheritance. When getting her to smoke some reefer fails, they drug her drink. She passes out in the bedroom and some weirdo from the party crawls in bed with her. Nothing happened, but the incident has made Joan look like an absolute whore. Talk is all over town about how despicable Joan is and how inheriting money would be like giving money to a total delinquent. Meanwhile, Joan's younger sister Marjorie has become a total dope fiend and has to be treated by a doctor who gives a diagnosis of insanity by self intoxication. It's so funny, she's just coming down off being stoned and they make her look like she's dying of Bubonic Plague! The doctor actually requests putting her in a mental hospital. Linda tries again once again to drug Joan. Once drugged, Joan acts totally spaced. Acid head aren't this spacey. Jack decides to take advantage of Joan in her drunken state and takes her to the nearest motel. Linda sees this and follows with a less than happy look on her face. From the motel lounge, Linda calls the police and pretends to be Joan's mother and requests that they come and pick up her daughter at the motel. Jack and Joan are henceforth arrested on a morals charge (!!!). Linda bails Jack out of jail and leaves Joan there. Now it's all over town that Joan Barry is in jail, this pretty much finishes off the goody two shoes image that she had before all this inheritance crap. At her trial, Joan is painted as a dirty floozie that has the morals of an alley cat. And even though her mother stands up for her daughter in the most heartfelt way, the court still thinks she's disgraceful and is about to award the inheritance to Linda. Soon, the bartender/reporter bursts into the courtroom with today's newspaper (featuring his article on reefer delinquents) declaring that Joan was only helping him in uncovering this scourge of the menacing marijuana. He also exposes Linda as a dope dealer, she is there forth taken away in handcuffs. The next scene is of a very rich Joan sharing an ice cream with Art (reporter/bartender). An announcement of their engagement can be heard outside by the old town gossip queen who has been loving making Joan look like a whore, but is now joyfully on her side now that she's rich.