Tuesday, June 23, 2015

They Must Be Told! (1938)

aka Sex Madness, aka Human Wreckage

How bad is it? It's a typical "informative" roadshow picture by a terrible director.
Should you see it? Yes, if you're a fan of films like "Reefer Madness."

Dwain Esper wrote, directed and produced a lot of bad films, his most entertaining, Maniac, coming before the Hays Code; after that, he made films purportedly to teach about social issues, but pure exploitation. Some of the more interesting titles, such as "How to Undress in Front of Your Husband," turn out to be his dullest. This one tells about the perils of venereal diseases. A woman contracts syphilis, is informed of the proper treatment course and the perils of not being treated - plenty of stock footage of sores - but she wants a fast cure before she marries her boyfriend, so she goes to a quack for a miracle cure. The result is a dead baby, a blind husband and the beginning of madness. There's one unforgettable scene: a prop window accidentally slams shut and startles the actors, but they continue with the action without re-shooting; the viewer ends up staring at the window, expecting that it has something to do with the plot.

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