Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Movie Time: Reefer Madness
Reefer Madness (originally released as Tell Your Children) is a well-known 1936 American propaganda exploitation film revolving around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try "marijuana" — from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, and descent into madness. The film was directed by Louis Gasnier and starred a cast composed of mostly unknown bit actors.

Originally financed by a church group under the title Tell Your Children, the film was intended to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them about the dangers of cannabis use. 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. The film was then reissued under several titles in addition to Reefer Madness, including Dope Addict, Doped Youth, Love Madness, and The Burning Question. 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 advocates of cannabis policy reform. Today, it is in the public domain in the United States and is considered a cult film. It inspired a musical satire, which premiered off-Broadway in 2001, and a film based on the musical in 2005.

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