Sex Madness (1938)

Drama | 1938

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HISTORY

No contemporary reviews of this film have been found. The film was copyrighted under the title Human Wreckage . The viewing print contained no credits. According to the file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was also known as Human Wreckage: They Must Be Told . Although copyright records list Joseph Seiden and Vincent Valentini as the "authors" of the film, the exact nature of their work on the production has not been determined. Seiden and the Cinema Service Corp. were associated with a number of Yiddish films in the 1930s, including the 1939 film Kol Nidre (see above). Regional censorship reports in the MPAA/PCA file indicate that the film was rejected by censors in New York, Pennsylvania and Kansas, and that Ohio censors approved the film only after eliminating a number of scenes and lines of dialogue, including a scene in which "one girl strokes another's arms in a suggestive manner" and the accompanying dialogue: "You do have plenty of IT"; close-up shots of "an exposed navel" and the entire house party ... More Less

No contemporary reviews of this film have been found. The film was copyrighted under the title Human Wreckage . The viewing print contained no credits. According to the file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film was also known as Human Wreckage: They Must Be Told . Although copyright records list Joseph Seiden and Vincent Valentini as the "authors" of the film, the exact nature of their work on the production has not been determined. Seiden and the Cinema Service Corp. were associated with a number of Yiddish films in the 1930s, including the 1939 film Kol Nidre (see above). Regional censorship reports in the MPAA/PCA file indicate that the film was rejected by censors in New York, Pennsylvania and Kansas, and that Ohio censors approved the film only after eliminating a number of scenes and lines of dialogue, including a scene in which "one girl strokes another's arms in a suggestive manner" and the accompanying dialogue: "You do have plenty of IT"; close-up shots of "an exposed navel" and the entire house party sequence. More Less

DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Human Wreckage: They Must Be Told
Human Wreckage
Copyright Claimant:
Cinema Service Corp.
Copyright Date:
28 April 1938
Copyright Number:
LU7988
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Length(in feet):
5,175
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After performing in a burlesque show in New York City, dancer Sheila Wayne goes backstage and tries to convince her friend, Millicent Hamilton, to join her for drinks with reformer Tom Lorenz, son of the renowned venereal disease expert Dr. Paul Lorenz, but Millicent turns down the offer because she has an appointment with Dr. Harris early the next morning. Sheila and her friends attend a party that night and engage in casual sex with the male guests. Meanwhile, Millicent reads a letter from her boyfriend from her hometown of Lorain, and begins to regret ever having left him to come to the big city. The next day, Dr. Harris informs Millicent that she has contracted syphilis, though he admits that she does not fit the personality profile of the disease's typical victim. The devastated Millicent then recounts for the doctor the events leading up to the one sexual encounter she had with a theatrical manager in New York upon her arrival to the city. After winning a beauty contest in Lorain, Millicent explains, she left for New York, where, desperate to find work, she accepted an invitation to a theatre manager's Long Island hideaway and submitted to his sexual advances. Dr. Harris then takes Millicent on a tour of the venereal disease ward at the hospital, where he shows her examples of the physical ravages of her disease in its advanced stages. Afterwards, he assures her that her condition is treatable with a new cure. He then makes Millicent promise to remain celibate until completely cured. When Millicent tells Dr. Harris that she plans on returning to Lorain, the doctor warns her to ... +


After performing in a burlesque show in New York City, dancer Sheila Wayne goes backstage and tries to convince her friend, Millicent Hamilton, to join her for drinks with reformer Tom Lorenz, son of the renowned venereal disease expert Dr. Paul Lorenz, but Millicent turns down the offer because she has an appointment with Dr. Harris early the next morning. Sheila and her friends attend a party that night and engage in casual sex with the male guests. Meanwhile, Millicent reads a letter from her boyfriend from her hometown of Lorain, and begins to regret ever having left him to come to the big city. The next day, Dr. Harris informs Millicent that she has contracted syphilis, though he admits that she does not fit the personality profile of the disease's typical victim. The devastated Millicent then recounts for the doctor the events leading up to the one sexual encounter she had with a theatrical manager in New York upon her arrival to the city. After winning a beauty contest in Lorain, Millicent explains, she left for New York, where, desperate to find work, she accepted an invitation to a theatre manager's Long Island hideaway and submitted to his sexual advances. Dr. Harris then takes Millicent on a tour of the venereal disease ward at the hospital, where he shows her examples of the physical ravages of her disease in its advanced stages. Afterwards, he assures her that her condition is treatable with a new cure. He then makes Millicent promise to remain celibate until completely cured. When Millicent tells Dr. Harris that she plans on returning to Lorain, the doctor warns her to be wary of unscrupulous doctors who bilk their patients out of hundreds of dollars and then fail to cure them. Millicent returns to Lorain, where she settles in with her boyfriend, Wendel Hope, and her parents. One year later, after having been under the care of Dr. Grenoble, who has assured her of her readiness for marriage and childbirth, Millicent believes herself to be cured of the disease. Tragically, though, Millicent gives birth to an unhealthy child, witnesses her husband rapidly losing his eyesight, and soon learns that Dr. Grenoble has been arrested on charges of medical fraud. At the suggestion of a pediatrician, Millicent and Wendel have themselves examined by a another doctor, who informs them that Millicent has unwittingly infected her family with the disease. Millicent watches helplessly as her bedridden husband slowly dies. Just as she is about to end her life by taking poison, Millicent's old friend Sheila calls to tell her that she is engaged to be married and that she has been successful in treating her case of syphilis with the new cure. +

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.