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Monday, January 29, 2018

Hot Stuff On 40's Tap

Careful --- You Too Might Faint!

Talk all we like about popular and big hit films, but none lit fires like a latest sex thrill spread like grass fire among populace shocked, but curious, to what latest fence was down in exploitation. Much of this stuff was recycled from heaven knows what had run before, but slap on a fresh title and ... off to races we go. Who'd complain to management of having already seen trash like this? Folks entered and left with collars turned up in any event. Sex pics were like peas under a shell at midways --- suckers knew they were being ripped off, and sure enough they were. You had to be at least 21 to see Sex Maniac in San Francisco, but there was bonus of a stage show. Was it burlesque dancing? The "Capitol Follies" venue suggests so. It took two drive-ins to contain crowds for No Greater Sin, outdoors an assist to anonymous view. 56,000 saw it during one Pittsburgh week? Could be, even as they stood in elements because no room was left for cars. I like "Many Will Faint, Don't Come Alone!" In event the movie got boring (a likelihood), you could walk around the lot and watch people pass out (note that the faint risk is mentioned four times in this ad). Birth of baby footage had been known to give men the vapors, so warnings were apt. Sissies stay home! Was No Greater Sin being oversold? I wouldn't know, having not seen it. Records show a 1941 production, with Leon Ames, Luana Walters, Tris Coffin, others recognizable, so bottom wasn't altogether scraped. A DVD can he had, if you must. Appropriately, it's from Alpha.


Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

Very good point, John -- "Who'd complain to management of having already seen trash like this?" Can you believe It: the exhibitor published A PHOTO OF THE AUDIENCE in the newspaper! How many patrons, who were not only present for this screening but desperate enough to be willing to stand, were mortified to recognize themselves (or be recognized by friends and neighbors)?

NO GREATER SIN was released under the aegis of University Films but it's really Monogram, ready to make a fast buck.

2:38 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Thanks for the background on NO GREATER SIN, Scott. I wasn't sure what its origin actually was.

2:43 PM  
Blogger DBenson said...

Monogram was cheap, but probably stayed well on the safe side of the code and local censors. Possible that "University Films" bought it, and added the maternity footage?

VCI did some releases under the title "Sex and Buttered Popcorn". One was a documentary about early exploitation, with a lot of attention to MOM AND DAD -- a wages-of-teen-sex drama that also featured a birth. They had separate showings for men and women, plus a break where sex hygiene authority "Elliot Forbes" (actually the showman touring the film) sermonized on the importance of education and sold booklets.

3:14 PM  
Blogger lmshah said...

John, we actually tried several times to set up a showing of MOM AND DAD at the Cinecon when exploitation king David F. Friedman was still alive so he could come and do the "Dr. Elliot Forbes" spiel live as he had when he toured with the film for Kroger Babb years ago, but never succeeded. A pity, because the film would have been a late-night hoot with an audience and a look at the bygone, carnival-like atmosphere of the sexploitation pics of the 30's and 40's.

Say what one will about these films, but William Beaudine said he made more money off the percentage he got from Kroger Babb for directing MOM AND DAD than any other film he ever made, just as Harry Revier could retire quite wealthily on the long-running profits he made from LASH OF THE PENITENTES(1935)and CHILD BRIDE (1938), and Dwain Esper also had a very comfortable old age as well. Salacious Cinema seems to have a long shelf-life, these "classics" still generate more interest today than much of their contemporary mainstream product does and what the heck does that say about us? Barnum is still right, there's one still born every minute (and two to catch`em).


7:39 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

I used to have a 16mm trailer for LASH OF THE PENITENTES that Tom Dunnahoo sold through Thunderbird Films, and it was really startling ... with nudity, whipping scenes ... viewers were taken aback wherever I ran it, a real show-stopper.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Jerry Kovar said...

OK John, you made me look:

11:40 AM  
Blogger Kevin K. said...

A similar picture was "Damaged Lives" directed by Edgar Ulmer in 1933. A melodrama about VD, instead of featuring the usual semi-nudity, it instead had footage of real people afflicted with the disease -- and it isn't pretty. It was released by Weldon Pictures, a nom-de-film of Columbia, which wanted the b.o. money without being publicly associated with it.

12:26 PM  
Blogger John Rice said...

"Mom and Dad" was legendary when I was a high schooler back in the 1950's. Rumor around the school yard was that it graphically showed EVERYTHING involved in making babies! That rumor turned out to be "fake news"! Of course most of us were too young to get into those male and female segregated audiences to see it back then! It continued to play local theaters and drive-ins in my home town well into the 1960's (to fully sexually integrated audiences in the latter days) but even when I was old enough to get in I somehow missed it. When I finally caught up it on YouTube ( just recently I found it to be a real snoozer (what else with William Beaudine directing?) in general but admit I still had to avert my eyes at some of the graphic childbirth & ravages of VD footage that closed the film. I'm glad I didn't see it in my younger days, I might have needed one of those "nurses in attendance" to revive me! Long live "Elliot Forbes"...all of them!

7:10 PM  
Blogger rnigma said...

In my teens, a family friend bought an old house in my hometown that once belonged to a physician. While the house was being renovated, I found in the attic some copies of the pamphlet from "Hygienic Productions" that were sold during showings of "Mom and Dad." (No, I did not take any. I was then unaware of their connection to any film.)

9:01 PM  
Blogger lmshah said...

Now now, leave us not say snide things about William Beaudine, who was a terrific director at his best, and a good, efficient craftsman when he was toiling in the Monogram/Republic/PRC fields in the 1940's (those Medved idiot brothers perpetrated that "One-Shot Beaudine" crap, and it was as much nonsense as everything else they wrote). If you'd like to know more about Beaudine, here's some notes I wrote about one of his best films, THE CANADIAN (1926) along with an overview of his career:

Even ol' MOM AND DAD, as silly as it may seem today, actually moves along and tells it story well, saving it's graphic punch for the payoff (though I just noticed that a good deal of the VD footage is actually lifted from the Los Angeles County Health Department's All-Star VD film KNOW FOR SURE (1941) which is why we see shots of Tim Holt and Samuel S. Hinds, they're in that film along with Ward Bond, J. Carroll Naish and Edwin Maxwell (as the "bad" VD Doctor of course)under the direction of Lewis Milestone no less).

Lots of good character actors in MOM AND DAD; Hardie Albright, George Eldridge, Wheeler Oakman, Francis Ford actually playing a sober maternity doctor. No, as these sort of films go, MOM AND DAD is farther up the food chain than many, look at SEX MADNESS (1938) some time, these days erroneously attributed to Dwain Esper, actually produced and directed by Joseph Seiden, but it's a truly cheap and inept mess. Beaudine's programmers look professional, are usually well-paced, and efficient, long takes but good set-ups, and show more quality and coherence under tight budgets than many other directors in the "B's". I'll take Beaudine over everyone's other favorite and overrated B movie "auteur" Edgar Ulmer any day.

And as I said before, if the seven days or so spent on MOM AND DAD made Beaudine a long-term annuity packet, more power to it, it gave him a more comfortable life if not retirement (he was busy in television until juat a few years before he died). And maybe the message actually got across to some of those titillated young folk spending a sheckel in search of salacious citements, at least MOM AND DAD had some sort of moral sense, what did the later audiences get out of stuff like BLOOD FEAST or 2000 MANIACS, DEEP THROAT and onward?


4:29 AM  
Blogger Scott MacGillivray said...

I'll gladly stand alongside anyone who defends William Beaudine. I recommend his granddaughter Wendy Marshall's book biography, "WIlliam Beaudine: From Silents to Television," in which Beaudine is quoted extensively, and you'll see how hard he worked -- first as an A-list director of silents, and later as the go-to guy for bringing a picture in on a budget.

MOM AND DAD, like NO GREATER SIN before it, was shot at Monogram with the studio's resident technicians and players.

8:39 AM  
Blogger thejohnmc963 said...

I think most of us go to movies NOT because of any “Moral Sense” . Escapism yes. One of the previous posters opined about morals in so morals in Deep Throat and the better HG Lewis films. It’s called entertainment and a movie about town that celebrates a loss to union forces by coming back to life at the hundreth anniversary to ambush unsuspecting Yankees is barrel of fun. I am 52 and that’s my two cents

8:03 PM  

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