Marihuana (1936)

Drama | 1936

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HISTORY

Although no contemporary reviews were found for this film, records of the New York State Censor Board state that it was rejected for exhibition in New York in Dec 1936 under the titles Pitfalls of Youth and Sinister Weed . The credits roll in front of drawings of naked women holding marijuana cigarettes surrounded by clouds of marijuana smoke. The foreword states, "For centuries the world has been aware of the narcotic menace. We have complacently watched Asiatic countries attempt to rid themselves of DRUGS CURSE, and attributed their failure to lack of education. We consider ourselves enlightened, and think that never could we succomb to such a fate. But--did you know that--the use of Marihuana is steadily increasing among the youth of this country? Did you know that--the youthful criminal is our greatest problem today? And that-- Marihuana gives the user false courage and destroys conscience, thereby making crime alluring, smart? That is the price we are paying for our lack of interest in the narcotic situation. This story is drawn from an actual case history on file in the police records of one of our large cities. Note : MARIHUANA, Hashish of the Orient, is commonly distributed as a doped cigarette. Its most terrifying effect is that it fires the user to extreme cruelty and--" [the film's story is apparently the "foreword's" conclusion]. The viewed print states, "Research with the help of Federal, State and police narcotic officials." The film's later narrative expresses the U.S. federal enforcement's futile attempts to suppress increased marijuana traffic. A modern source lists this film's title as ... More Less

Although no contemporary reviews were found for this film, records of the New York State Censor Board state that it was rejected for exhibition in New York in Dec 1936 under the titles Pitfalls of Youth and Sinister Weed . The credits roll in front of drawings of naked women holding marijuana cigarettes surrounded by clouds of marijuana smoke. The foreword states, "For centuries the world has been aware of the narcotic menace. We have complacently watched Asiatic countries attempt to rid themselves of DRUGS CURSE, and attributed their failure to lack of education. We consider ourselves enlightened, and think that never could we succomb to such a fate. But--did you know that--the use of Marihuana is steadily increasing among the youth of this country? Did you know that--the youthful criminal is our greatest problem today? And that-- Marihuana gives the user false courage and destroys conscience, thereby making crime alluring, smart? That is the price we are paying for our lack of interest in the narcotic situation. This story is drawn from an actual case history on file in the police records of one of our large cities. Note : MARIHUANA, Hashish of the Orient, is commonly distributed as a doped cigarette. Its most terrifying effect is that it fires the user to extreme cruelty and--" [the film's story is apparently the "foreword's" conclusion]. The viewed print states, "Research with the help of Federal, State and police narcotic officials." The film's later narrative expresses the U.S. federal enforcement's futile attempts to suppress increased marijuana traffic. A modern source lists this film's title as Marijuana, Devil's Weed and gives a release year of 1938. The modern source describes the first reel of this film as consisting of "dancehall mania, sex-laden dope parties emphasized with bobbing breasts and nude beach scenes, and hilarious inhaling." A Mexican film entitled Marihuana, El Monstruo Verde ( Marihuana, the Green Monster ) was released in Jun 1936 and is unrelated to this film. The 1950 film Marihuana made in Argentina by Sono Films is also unrelated to this film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 36
p. 6.
Variety
8 Nov 50
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
WRITERS
Cont
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
FILM EDITOR
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Sinister Weed
Pitfalls of Youth
Copyright Claimant:
Road Show Attractions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 May 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6382
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Teen-ager Burma Roberts, in order to defy her sister Elaine, who is doted on by their mother, spends her evenings at beer halls with her boyfriend, Dick Collier. While the couple is out drinking one night, narcotics peddlers Tony and Nick befriend Burma's group of friends, hoping to create a market for heroin. At his beachhouse the next weekend, Tony introduces the unsuspecting girls to marijuana and, in a frenzy of giggles, they undress and run into the ocean in their underwear. One of them, Joan Marsh, swims too far out and is drowned. When the girls return to shore, they discover that she is missing. Burma, meanwhile, is so intoxicated that she becomes sexually aggressive with Dick and they spend time on the beach alone. Following the party, headlines announce Joan's death and the community is outraged. Elaine, in order to protect the reputation of her wealthy fiancé, Morgan Stuart, manages to keep Burma's name out of the scandal. Burma's trouble begins, however, when she learns she is pregnant as a result of her intoxicated behavior at Tony's party and she asks Dick to marry her. Desperate for a job, Dick agrees to meet Tony's drug shipment but is killed during a police raid. Burma then threatens to expose Tony, but he convinces her to stay with him until her baby is born. Following the birth, he puts the baby up for adoption and fashions Burma into Blondie, "queen of the snow peddlers." Soon Burma is a heroin addict. Hoping to procure some of her sister's wealth and determined to make Elaine "suffer the torments of hell," Burma ... +


Teen-ager Burma Roberts, in order to defy her sister Elaine, who is doted on by their mother, spends her evenings at beer halls with her boyfriend, Dick Collier. While the couple is out drinking one night, narcotics peddlers Tony and Nick befriend Burma's group of friends, hoping to create a market for heroin. At his beachhouse the next weekend, Tony introduces the unsuspecting girls to marijuana and, in a frenzy of giggles, they undress and run into the ocean in their underwear. One of them, Joan Marsh, swims too far out and is drowned. When the girls return to shore, they discover that she is missing. Burma, meanwhile, is so intoxicated that she becomes sexually aggressive with Dick and they spend time on the beach alone. Following the party, headlines announce Joan's death and the community is outraged. Elaine, in order to protect the reputation of her wealthy fiancé, Morgan Stuart, manages to keep Burma's name out of the scandal. Burma's trouble begins, however, when she learns she is pregnant as a result of her intoxicated behavior at Tony's party and she asks Dick to marry her. Desperate for a job, Dick agrees to meet Tony's drug shipment but is killed during a police raid. Burma then threatens to expose Tony, but he convinces her to stay with him until her baby is born. Following the birth, he puts the baby up for adoption and fashions Burma into Blondie, "queen of the snow peddlers." Soon Burma is a heroin addict. Hoping to procure some of her sister's wealth and determined to make Elaine "suffer the torments of hell," Burma kidnaps the Stuarts' daughter. When she goes to collect the $50,000 ransom, however, Morgan refuses to pay, saying the baby is Elaine's sister's and was adopted when her mother disappeared three years before. Meanwhile, the husband of one of Burma's customers discovers a ring missing and calls the police on "Blondie." When the police search Tony's apartment, they find dope and the Stuart child. When Burma returns home to face her own child, she gives herself an extra dose of heroin and, opening the door, sees Nick and Tony handcuffed and the police waiting. Burma collapses on the floor as she sees her daughter's face for the last time, and marijuana cigarettes fall about her head. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.