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The kind of "anti-drug" film that doesn't help and films that do help


Toto
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This morning on TCM, between the classic sci-fi films "Them" and "Forbidden Planet", an anti-drug film from the 50's was shown.  It stated that marijuana leads right to harder drugs like heroin and that the "Reds" are probably behind this effort to get American youth addicted to drugs.  The acting/production values of the film were not good - in fact comical.  I was born after this era but remember being shown similar types of films as a teenager.   They presented "facts" that weren't true - such as comparing marijuana to heroin.  Drugs are an extremely serious problem and it's too bad there wasn't a better approach.  Also, most of the "anti-drug" films I was shown as a teenager ignored one of the worst drugs affecting people - alcohol.  I appreciated that TCM showed some excellent films on this topic under its "Addiction and Recovery" theme.  I'd love to hear any opinions about these films.

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  • Toto changed the title to The kind of "anti-drug" film that doesn't help and films that do help

I don't remember any anti-marijuana films, but I do remember, very vividly, watching a film in 6th grade health class on heroin and heroin addiction.  I still remember scenes from it, nearly 50 years later.  I recently re-watched the entire Breaking Bad series, and there were a few crack house  scenes in that show that evoked memories of that film we watched in 6th grade.  The documentary was much worse than anything shown on Breaking Bad.

I doubt there are few families that haven't been touched by alcohol abuse.  Thankfully, it didn't affect my immediate family, but growing up there were plenty of aunts, uncles, and great aunts and uncles that were alcoholics - enough that I never developed much of a taste for it after seeing the damage it can do.  

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1 hour ago, Toto said:

This morning on TCM, between the classic sci-fi films "Them" and "Forbidden Planet", an anti-drug film from the 50's was shown.  It stated that marijuana leads right to harder drugs like heroin and that the "Reds" are probably behind this effort to get American youth addicted to drugs.  The acting/production values of the film were not good - in fact comical.  I was born after this era but remember being shown similar types of films as a teenager.   They presented "facts" that weren't true - such as comparing marijuana to heroin.  Drugs are an extremely serious problem and it's too bad there wasn't a better approach.  Also, most of the "anti-drug" films I was shown as a teenager ignored one of the worst drugs affecting people - alcohol.  I appreciated that TCM showed some excellent films on this topic under its "Addiction and Recovery" theme.  I'd love to hear any opinions about these films.

 Valley youth were exposed to the following film during the Seventies:

    https://stock.periscopefilm.com/xd48034-marijuana-the-great-escape-1968-teen-anti-drug-use-abuse-educational-film/ 

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1 hour ago, Toto said:

Drugs are an extremely serious problem and it's too bad there wasn't a better approach. 

To me this comment illustrates the same type of situations in that film:    the use of the term "drugs".      As you mentioned this lumps all type of "drugs" into one very wide category.

As you point out this is why "drug" education mostly failed.      

 

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This is a good conversation to have.  I remember my son coming home from school, sixth grade I think, really upset over an anti-drug film they had shown where  someone in withdrawal had been shivering and vomiting on a bathroom floor.  I remember thinking at the time, "Do children really need to see anything that harsh!"  Time told me it hadn't been nearly harsh enough -- or too early or something.

Films like "Reefer Madness," were so ridiculous and far fetched,  I think they actually increased Marijuana use.   A whole generation watched that and then thought all antidrug advice was equally wrong and exaggerated.

I think Breaking Bad was probably a good thing for teens to watch.  The viewer saw how selling drugs can become a horrible choice for which there is often no backing out.  We  saw Wendy lose her beauty and live a seedy life as a prostitute that was nothing at all like Julia Roberts's  story in "Pretty woman."  We saw Jane die a tragic death choking on her own vomit.  We saw Jesse trying to give it all up, back at his parent's home, hands shaking as he set the table.  We saw that their "unconditional" love  for him had run right out. 

Anyone watching "Better Call Saul" just saw how tragically Nacho's life turned out. 

Do these examples stop anyone from starting?  I wish we knew.

These days I don't watch many movies that center around drugs.  The last one I watched that really served as a warning to me was, "Days of Wine and Roses."

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3 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

I don't remember any anti-marijuana films, but I do remember, very vividly, watching a film in 6th grade health class on heroin and heroin addiction.  I still remember scenes from it, nearly 50 years later.  I recently re-watched the entire Breaking Bad series, and there were a few crack house  scenes in that show that evoked memories of that film we watched in 6th grade.  The documentary was much worse than anything shown on Breaking Bad.

I doubt there are few families that haven't been touched by alcohol abuse.  Thankfully, it didn't affect my immediate family, but growing up there were plenty of aunts, uncles, and great aunts and uncles that were alcoholics - enough that I never developed much of a taste for it after seeing the damage it can do.  

Thanks for sharing!  As you said, "I doubt there are few families that haven't been touched by alcohol abuse".  So true and people need to know they are not alone struggling with this problem.

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21 minutes ago, AndreaDoria said:

This is a good conversation to have.  I remember my son coming home from school, sixth grade I think, really upset over an anti-drug film they had shown where  someone in withdrawal had been shivering and vomiting on a bathroom floor.  I remember thinking at the time, "Do children really need to see anything that harsh!"  Time told me it hadn't been nearly harsh enough -- or too early or something.

Films like "Reefer Madness," were so ridiculous and far fetched,  I think they actually increased Marijuana use.   A whole generation watched that and then thought all antidrug advice was equally wrong and exaggerated.

I think Breaking Bad was probably a good thing for teens to watch.  The viewer saw how selling drugs can become a horrible choice for which there is often no backing out.  We  saw Wendy lose her beauty and live a seedy life as a prostitute that was nothing at all like Julia Roberts's  story in "Pretty woman."  We saw Jane die a tragic death choking on her own vomit.  We saw Jesse trying to give it all up, back at his parent's home, hands shaking as he set the table.  We saw that their "unconditional" love  for him had run right out. 

Anyone watching "Better Call Saul" just saw how tragically Nacho's life turned out. 

Do these examples stop anyone from starting?  I wish we knew.

These days I don't watch many movies that center around drugs.  The last one I watched that really served as a warning to me was, "Days of Wine and Roses."

I'll have to check out "Breaking Bad".  Of course, one of the most memorable films for me about alcohol abuse is "A Star is Born" starring Judy Garland and James Mason.  It shows both the tragedy of an alcoholic but the pain it caused to a loved one.

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No, I don't suppose anyone ever accused those old anti-this or anti-that educational movies of being anything other than heavy-handed.  One day in my 8th grade boys' health class, our gym teacher told us, "You guys don't go fornicatin' around or you'll end up like this...."  And the next picture in the film strip turned many a strong stomach that morning.  Boy, oh, boy! Did it ever!

But I'll tell ya, as to the effectiveness of the program, there was one episode of Dragnet (about 1968 or 69) that did it for me.  A young couple was having marijuana parties in their comfortable suburban home.  The police were called a time or two and told them they'd better knock it off or it wouldn't end well for them.  Well, the couple continued -- against the warnings of the authorities -- and then disaster hit.  One night the police were called in and asked where the infant daughter of the couple was.  Both mom and dad were stoned and just looked at each other, until mom remembered that she was giving the baby a bath -- an hour earlier!  Sure enough, there floating in the bathtub was the  towel-wrapped body of the baby girl.  

Scared the bejeebers out of me for sure, I can tell you!  But what drove home the message for me was that the hysterical mother's crying caused all these black streaks to flow down and across her face.  I was 9 years old; what did I know about women's mascara?  I thought marijuana turned your body fluids black.  And that's what's kept me away from all that stuff for 60 years.

Thank you, Jack Webb.

 

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3 hours ago, AndreaDoria said:

Films like "Reefer Madness," were so ridiculous and far fetched,  I think they actually increased Marijuana use.   A whole generation watched that and then thought all antidrug advice was equally wrong and exaggerated.

It's so sad watching stoners put such naive childlike faith in showing us Reefer Madness (especially when it's PD-free enough to put clips in homegrown pro-legalization documentaries), and saying "THIS is what society thought, and thinks today!"   HAHAHAHAHA!....umm, no.  😂

There's a great documentary, somewhere on the psychotronic wilds of TubiTV, Shlock!: the Secret History of American Movies (2001), where they interview a few surviving huckster producers of the "Roadshow movie", back in the 30's-50's when the term DIDN'T refer to Cleopatra or Dr. Zhivago--In those days, an independent "Edu-ploitation" producer didn't have a studio, or even a B-distributor like American International, to take their shock-grabbing B-pictures from town to town, so it was promoted as an "event", for one or three nights only, and then the producer would be safely on the next train out of town a day before the local PTA or sheriff  decided to ban such filth.  Their one backup sales strategy was to sell sordid B-dramas of the Virginal Small-Town Girl Who Fell In With the Wrong Crowd in the Big City as an "educational" docudrama depiction of teen pregnancy, or STD, or white-slavery prostitution, but with a wink to the audience who knew why they were paying their fifty cents.  Often times, it'd be presented as a "lecture", with an intermission break where a hired doctor or expert would be selling his best-selling pamphlets on the subject, so that everyone could feel enobled about their guilt.   (Think back to Mark Twain's scene in "Huckleberry Finn", where the swindling Duke advertises a fake show, and puts "No women or children admitted" on the poster--"If that don't bring 'em in, nothing will!")   Mom and Dad, which made itself "educational" by including messages on STD's, a live lecture on telling your daughters about the facts, and actual footage of a delivery--which most people had literally never seen before, back when dads had to wait in the hospital waiting room--onto its teen-pregnancy drama, actually turned out to be the secret highest-grossing movie of 1945, if it had played legitimate theaters.

So, why did marijuana supposedly cause its victims to play the piano faster?  Well, maybe we should look closer at the demographics of the poor Reefer Madness victims--They all seem to be swingin' decadent Jazz Age kids, as there WERE no Seth Rogen "lovable stoners" in the 30's.  The most likely place you were bound to encounter the Devil's Weed was in the jazz clubs on the wrong side of town, and it was only one sin waiting for you there, along with free sex, cheap liquor, cigarettes, then readily-available cocaine, and that hot-mama music where they, um...like to play the piano hot and fast.  Basically, it was selling the Evils of Decadence, and giving us a reason to notice how bad it is, and what a danger it is to our young people...Of course.

And the next time you see a faithfully-believing stoner putting such heart and faith in the idea that Reefer Madness will singlehandedly clinch his case by shaming you with its horribly outdated social intolerance toward alternate recreational activities, remind him that there's a word for that, that the producers fully intended from the start:  ".....SUC-KERRRR!  🤣"

7 hours ago, Toto said:

and that the "Reds" are probably behind this effort to get American youth addicted to drugs.  

(Sounds suspiciously like Amazon's claim that nasty union organizers had "secretly given weed to employees" to make them vote pro-union...)

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I remember Bob Dole got flak for saying that Trainspotting glorified drug use and then admitting he hadn't seen the film.  It's a personal top 10 film for me (and top 100 book) and must admit- it kind of does.

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17 minutes ago, Shank Asu said:

I remember Bob Dole got flak for saying that Trainspotting glorified drug use and then admitting he hadn't seen the film.  It's a personal top 10 film for me (and top 100 book) and must admit- it kind of does.

Was it the diving in the toilet part or the dead baby?

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2 hours ago, Toto said:

I'll have to check out "Breaking Bad".  Of course, one of the most memorable films for me about alcohol abuse is "A Star is Born" starring Judy Garland and James Mason.  It shows both the tragedy of an alcoholic but the pain it caused to a loved one.

The original with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March does a good job of it as well.

In the 60's they showed some anti-drug films in my Jr. high school.  And many were laughable.  Like one where the local "pusher" is shown handing over what looks like an ordinary pack of cigarettes, but is supposedly marijuana.  It was from the mid to late '50's,  judging by the cars and hair fashions.   Fat chance of them convincing a group of hormone driven eighth graders to avoid using and sharing a drug that they claimed could cause "good girls" to lose their inhibitions!  :rolleyes:   But of films....

PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK sure don't make getting loaded any fun.  And in a way, '70's JOE w/Peter Boyle doesn't make it look all that "glorified" either.

Sepiatone

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I will never forget seeing Frank Sinatra in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM as a young woman of about 25. I was completely shocked at the story and his incredible performance.  Ray Milland showed the same scary desperation in THE LOST WEEKEND which I also found pretty shocking. Many years later the more subtle scene in ED WOOD of Bela Lugosi shooting up shocked me the same way, just so sad.

It doesn't matter what "intoxicant" or "drug" is depicted. It's only effective if the portrayal is dismal, desperate & humiliating. Humiliating for the viewer-that's enough of a deterrent for me. 

To this day, once I start feeling any loss of control (like slurring my words) it's time to switch from wine to orange juice. I never want to act like a jerk (or worse, vomit) in public. As a councilor, pride/humiliation was always where I'd start trying to reach the addict.

When I saw TCMs spotlight on addiction, I thought the films chosen were excellent. Except, many I can't watch again. I still haven't gotten through A LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, it's a little talky & stilted.

 

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3 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I will never forget seeing Frank Sinatra in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM as a young woman of about 25. I was completely shocked at the story and his incredible performance.  Ray Milland showed the same scary desperation in THE LOST WEEKEND which I also found pretty shocking. Many years later the more subtle scene in ED WOOD of Bela Lugosi shooting up shocked me the same way, just so sad.

It doesn't matter what "intoxicant" or "drug" is depicted. It's only effective if the portrayal is dismal, desperate & humiliating. Humiliating for the viewer-that's enough of a deterrent for me. 

To this day, once I start feeling any loss of control (like slurring my words) it's time to switch from wine to orange juice. I never want to act like a jerk (or worse, vomit) in public. As a councilor, pride/humiliation was always where I'd start trying to reach the addict.

When I saw TCMs spotlight on addiction, I thought the films chosen were excellent. Except, many I can't watch again. I still haven't gotten through A LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, it's a little talky & stilted.

 

Thanks.  Per your recommendation, I'll see "The Man With the Golden Arm".

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4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I will never forget seeing Frank Sinatra in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM as a young woman of about 25. I was completely shocked at the story and his incredible performance.  Ray Milland showed the same scary desperation in THE LOST WEEKEND which I also found pretty shocking. Many years later the more subtle scene in ED WOOD of Bela Lugosi shooting up shocked me the same way, just so sad.

It doesn't matter what "intoxicant" or "drug" is depicted. It's only effective if the portrayal is dismal, desperate & humiliating. Humiliating for the viewer-that's enough of a deterrent for me. 

To this day, once I start feeling any loss of control (like slurring my words) it's time to switch from wine to orange juice. I never want to act like a jerk (or worse, vomit) in public. As a councilor, pride/humiliation was always where I'd start trying to reach the addict.

When I saw TCMs spotlight on addiction, I thought the films chosen were excellent. Except, many I can't watch again. I still haven't gotten through A LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, it's a little talky & stilted.

 

As one once dependent on amphetamines,  I can now only take pride in the fact that I did manage to give it all up, and never once considered injecting anything mind altering into my system.  And at this point, seeing TV shows or movies that inject the character of a drunkard into the story for comic effect immediately turns me off.  I've seen too many people I know destroy their lives, or the lives of others due to alcoholism that I fail to see anything funny about it. 

Sepiatone

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5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

I will never forget seeing Frank Sinatra in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM as a young woman of about 25. I was completely shocked at the story and his incredible performance.  Ray Milland showed the same scary desperation in THE LOST WEEKEND which I also found pretty shocking. Many years later the more subtle scene in ED WOOD of Bela Lugosi shooting up shocked me the same way, just so sad.

It doesn't matter what "intoxicant" or "drug" is depicted. It's only effective if the portrayal is dismal, desperate & humiliating. Humiliating for the viewer-that's enough of a deterrent for me. 

Richard Pryor did such a memorable confessional of his own crack addiction, and his intervention from friend Jim Brown, in Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), that when he tried filming his addiction-confessional later as a autobio-docudrama, it paled in theaters:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94qu1rmyxxk  [Language NSFW, as his best material should be]

 

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19 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Was it the diving in the toilet part or the dead baby?

Probably flinging the **** across the girlfriend's parents at the breakfast table 😁

I got the impression from the film that the baby died due neglect/malnourishment from the junky mom, but in the book it's described as SIDs.

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I recall in the 80's as a junior high  and HS student watching anti drug films  One showed a guy who had a mental breakdown, and another a man going through withdrawal.  Both had an effect on me, I never took drugs.   In adfition, growing seeing drunk family members passed out on the floor   convinced me to be wary of booze, although  I was raised to be a moderate drinker on holidays and special occasions.  I have never  gotten drunk, or drink when on medication.  I do respect those who struggle with rehab. Good luck to them..

 

 

 

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On 4/28/2022 at 7:06 AM, TikiSoo said:

I will never forget seeing Frank Sinatra in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM as a young woman of about 25.

I can't imagine seeing Frank Sinatra play a young woman.  Are you certain you don't have some other movie in mind?  :P

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