05/04/2016  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

On 'Formation' World Tour, Beyonce Through 'Lemonade'-...
Nyle DiMarco's attitude on DWTS is annoying everyone ex...
Ripa's return to 'Live!' is all smiles following Straha...
10 Juicy Lyrics From Beyonce's New Lemonade Album That ...
Prince's last days: What we know ...
Jason Bourne Trailer and Poster Released!...
Why I quit 'Game of Thrones'...
Stephen Colbert teaches Hillary Clinton the proper way ...
'Jungle Book' ensures it: Parade of Disney-classic rema...
Captain America: Civil War reactions ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Fox Home Entertainment presents
Reefer Madness (Tell Your Children) Special Edition (1938)

"We administrators can't do anything until the public is sufficiently aroused."
- Dr. Alfred Carroll (Joseph Forte)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: April 20, 2004

Stars: Dorothy Short, Kenneth Craig, Lilian Miles, Dan O'Brien, Thelma White, Carleton Young
Other Stars: Warren McCollum, Pat Royale, Joseph Forte
Director: Louis Gasnier

Manufacturer: Ambient Digital Media
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (drug use, violence, language on commentary)
Run Time: 01h:07m:56s
Release Date: April 20, 2004
UPC: 024543102465
Genre: cult


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D- C-B-D+ B+

DVD Review

For nearly two centuries, hemp (cannibas sativa) was one of the biggest cash crops in America. But in the 1930s, the plant was utterly demonized and taxed out of circulation through a conspiracy of the Hearst syndicate, DuPont, big liquor, the cotton growers and the lumber interests, depending on which tinfoil hat you're wearing. But it was certainly one of the most successful public relations campaigns ever, with the anti-drug hysteria that it created still alive and well 70 years later, a testament to the propaganda skills of the anti-marijuana forces. This film, originally entitled Tell Your Children but re-released under a multitude of titles, was a centerpiece in the crusade against pot and remains a hilarious cult classic under its most familiar title.

Pusher Jack Perry (Carleton Young) is busily addicting America's high school students to marijuana through pot parties at the apartment of Mae (Thelma White). Although Dr. Alfred Carroll (Joseph Forte) engages in a straight-faced campaign against Satan's smokes, young Bill Harper (Kenneth Craig) and Jimmy Lane (Warren McCollum) fall under Jack's spell. Before long, they are not only involved in vehicular manslaughter, attempted rapes, and murder frame-ups, but excruciatingly bad dancing, weird ragtime piano playing, and maniacal laughter to boot. Oddly enough, no Doritos or pizza are anywhere to be seen. Marijuana use in 1938 must have been much more difficult than today.

Reefer Madness is justly reviled for its utterly terrible script and acting. Most of the performances here would be rejected off a high school stage, ranging from wooden to lethargic, with a smattering of gross overacting to spice things up every now and then. The latter is especially the case with hophead Ralph (Dave O'Brien), who is consistently leering maniacally, when he's not actually groping teenage girls. The pot escapades are interwoven with endless lectures from Forte, who lacks any kind of conviction other than a determination to bore his listeners to death. One clearly understands how time is slowed down under the influence, for the opening crawl goes on, slowly....slowly.....slowly.......for what seems like an hour. Static camera, uninteresting compositions, pathetic effects and incredibly cheap production values combine to make this a painful viewing experience in any kind of serious frame of mind. Even at a mere 67 minutes, the picture is mercilessly padded with the drug pushers mixing drinks, making dinner, and other boring scenes of domesticity that add nothing whatsoever to the mix.

This picture was produced at the behest of a group of church leaders, who no doubt were seriously disturbed by the notion that someone, somewhere might be having a good time. It's difficult to believe that the producers of the film exactly shared that sentiment. One subsidiary newspaper headline proclaims "G-Man Dick Tracy in Sensational Raid," a tip that things aren't exactly on the level here. And that's probably why the drug sequences seem like so much fun (if arbitrarily weird) and the straight ones are so deathly dull. For generations of viewers, this film has had the opposite effect from that which was intended by its sponsors, being viewed almost universally by the heavily stoned. Your reviewer, I will point out, maintained complete sobriety through three viewings, as difficult as that may be to believe.

As camp classics go, Reefer Madness is right at the top of the list. It goes way beyond "So bad it's good" clear through good and back into very, very bad again. Take another toke, and maybe that'll make sense.

Rating for Style: D-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The primary feature is provided in a colorized version (no doubt to provide a copyrightable aspect to this PD staple), done in psychedelic colors in the style of 1930s picture postcards, complete with multi-colored puffs of smoke. The source print is in surprisingly nice condition, although there's a bit of a shake to the picture. There's also the original black-and-white version for the purists, but it doesn't have all the extra features and juiced-up audio tracks. Considering its very-low-budget origins and PD status, this looks pretty good, though the colorization won't be for everyone. The picture here is much better than on any other home video version to date.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish (B&W feature)no
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The disc producers have gone way overboard on the audio, giving the noisy and crackly mono not only a DD 5.1 but DTS treatment as well. Frankly, the effort's pretty much wasted, since there's no audio quality to work with in the first place. Music is tinny, and there's plenty of noise and hiss throughout. The surround aspect sounds unnatural and unnecessarily tricked up, with exaggerated directionality on occasion. The black-and-white version is in the original mono, which doesn't sound any better, but at least it doesn't jerk about strangely.

Audio Transfer Grade: D+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1) Michael J. Nelson 2) Legend Films colorizers
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Short subject Grandpa's Marijuana Handbook
Extras Review: Fox goes wild with this disc, providing not one but two full-length scene-specific commentaries. By far the most entertaining is one by Mike Nelson, former writer and host of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The commentary starts off giving a little background as if he's going to be serious but by the time we're five minutes in he's mercilessly riffing on the picture. Even though he doesn't have the bots to play off of, he still has the knack and it's guaranteed to make you laugh even if you don't have a stash handy. The second track features the colorizing team discussing how they made their creative decisions, which will probably be interesting only to color theorists. They can't resist taking jabs at the feature either, however, so it's not without merit for the rest of us.

There's also a 24m:32s humorous 1999 short featuring Evan Keliher, author of Grandpa's Marijuana Handbook, discussing the history and use of pot. It's pretty amateurishly shot on video, but still manages to be moderately amusing. A set of outtakes of Keliher screwing up his lines will probably appeal most to the more completely baked audience members. Finally, there's a trailer for the colorized version of the film.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

Although there are plenty of PD versions of this film out there, the extras and the quality of the print make this one the obvious choice. It's perfect for riffing with your friends, or you can just let Mike Nelson do the heavy lifting for you.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

music, beyonce, crazy in love, lemonade, sorry, donÕt hurt yourself, daddy lessons, television, dancing with the stars, nyle dimarco, bruno tonioli, carrie ann inaba, len goodman, live! with kelly and michael, kelly ripa michael strahan, beyoncˇ, jay z, rachel roy, cheating, prince, little red corvette, purple rain, linus and lucy, movie, the bourne supremacy, the bourne ultimatum, matt damon, alicia vikander, vincent cassel, tommy lee jones, julia stiles, paul greengrass, hbo, game of thrones, sansa, ramsay bolton, theron greyjoy, reek, petyr baelish, cersei, jaime, stephen colbert, hillary clinton, carnegie deli, the late show with stepen colbert, jungle book, disney, neel sethi, bill murray, rudyard kipling, captain america: civil war, captain america, iron man, black panther, scarlet witch, the jungle book, virtual productions, avatar, gravity, jon favreau, fantasy, james cameron, avatar sequels, avatar 2, christmas 2018, movies, tribeca film festival, the first monday in may, andrew rossi, justin bieber, anna wintour, met gala, 38 interactive and virtual-reality exhibits, the bomb, the meddler, j.j. abrams, chris rock, tom hanks, john oliver, elvis & nixon, mtv movie awards, dwayne johnson, kevin hart, warner bros. studios, will smith, suicide squad, jared leto, margot robbie, cara delevingne, kiss, freedom to rock, 35 date tour, july 7, caleb johnson, dead daisies, kiss online, merle haggard, died, okie from muskogee, sing me back, mama tried, the bakersfield sound, country music. willie nelson, waylon jennings, gram parsons, eric church, hungry eyes, jimmy fallon, melissa mccarthy, the boss, brand new key, x gonna give it to ya, miles ahead, don cheadle, miles davis, rock and roll hall of fame, ewan mcgregor, michael stuhbarg, lakeith lee stanfield, house of lies, finding dory, ellen degeneres, finding nemo, albert brooks, hayden rolence, animation, celebrity, robert de niro, vaxxed, dr. william schaffner, vanderbilt university medical school, autism, cannes film festival, woody allen, cafe society, kristen stewart, blake lively, reality, the voice, alicia keys, miley cyrus, blake shelton, adam levine, marvel, georgia, gov. nathan deal, anti-gay, chad griffin, lollapalooza, chicago, red hot chili peppers, radiohead, lana del rey, ellie goulding, major lazer, dance competion, jodie sweetin, kim fields, sasha farber, paige van zandt, erin andrews, ariana grande, dangerous woman, a cappella, sxsw, drake, fader fort, know yourself, legend, energy, jumpman, hulk hogan, gawker, sex tape, florida jury, $15 million, melissa rauch, the big bang theory, the bronze, captain america: winter soldier star sebastian stan

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store