Marihuana (1936)

  • Year: 1936
  • Released: 01 May 1936
  • Country: United States
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  • IMDb:
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Runtime: 57 min
  • Writer: Hildegarde Stadie
  • Director: Dwain Esper
  • Cast: Harley Wood, Hugh McArthur, Pat Carlyle
  • Keywords: suicide, drowning, gangster, heroin, cocaine, marijuana,
18% – Critics
18% – Audience

Marihuana Storyline

A young girl named Burma attends a beach party with her boyfriend, and after she smokes marijuana with a bunch of other girls, she gets pregnant and another girl drowns while skinny-dipping in the ocean. Burma and her boyfriend go to work for the pusher to make money so they can get married, but during a drug deal her boyfriend is killed, leaving Burma to fend for herself. Burma then becomes a major narcotics pusher in her own right after giving up her baby for adoption.—Brian Washington

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Marihuana Movie Reviews

Bad but not too bad

Camp classic by exploitation master Dwain Esper. A clean cut bunch of obviously over-age “kids” become addicted to marijuana after one puff! They giggle uncontrollably, engage in nude skinny-dipping (mild female nudity), sex and it all leads to a drowning, alcoholism, heroin addiction, kidnapping, pregnancy and death.

This is a very silly movie–another one of those ones where the people making it had no idea what they were doing. Most of the acting is terrible and the story is downright ridiculous at times (and hard to follow–the surviving prints are in terrible shape). Still it’s not worthless. It moves quickly (only 57 minutes), there were actually some pretty clever directorial touches and Harley Wood was pretty good in her lead role. So it’s worth a look if you’re curious. On par with “Reefer Madness”.

Fun to watch, but wow is this a sleazy mess of a film!!

This is a bad movie that purports to be an educational film designed to warn America about the menace of marijuana use. However, like almost all the so-called “educational” films of the 30s and 40s, it was really a shabby little film designed to be snuck past the censors of the Hays Office. In 1934, the major studios all agreed to abide by the dictates of a stronger Production Code–eliminating sex, nudity, cursing and “inappropriate” plots in films (these had actually been relatively common in films in the early 30s). However, in an effort to sneak in smut, small studios created films to shock adults when they learn about terrible social ills, though they were REALLY intended to titillate and slip adult themes past the censors! Such films as CHILD BRIDE, MAD YOUTH, REEFER MADNESS and SEX MADNESS were all schlocky trash that skirted past the boards because they were supposedly educational. Even though they were laughably bad, they also made money due to low production costs and because they offered nudity, violence and sordid story lines–all in the name of education!

Many will no doubt watch this film because they are hoping for a similar film to REEFER MADNESS (one of the most laughably bad anti-drug films of all time). While it isn’t quite as dopey and unintentionally funny, MARIJUANA is probably a worse film when it comes to being exploitational all in the name of educating our parents. While on drugs, the characters don’t madly play the piano or run amok quite as much as they do in REEFER MADNESS–but they DO run amok in the most ridiculous manner. Once they begin puffing this “wacky tobacky”, all the characters begin laughing non-stop and acting like total idiots. In addition, the ladies respond by taking off all their clothes and running nude along the beach at night!! And, because of this, the film is very, very explicit–showing lots of “naughty bits” (A Monty Python term for nudity). This film would probably receive an R-rating today if shown in the theaters because of the nudity–and this must have been VERY shocking to audiences of the day. However, audiences today would also be a bit shocked at how extremely unattractive and unappealing these ladies were–I kept wanting to yell at the characters to “put it back on–PLEASE!!”. If you are looking for a cheap thrill, this film won’t provide it!

Now when they aren’t showing people running amok, the film actually is much more watchable. Those who sell the drugs are indeed users, but they manage not to behave like morons, so they are more convincing. The story of one of them, Blondie, is somewhat compelling and mildly interesting–though not nearly enough to make up for the rottenness of the rest of the movie.

This film is so bad that I would recommend it for a bad movie festival you can stage with your friends. You know, the ones where you laugh at just how bad and stupid films can be. They didn’t even bother trying to get decent music for much of the film–using classical tunes that were completely inappropriate just because they were in the public domain.

What a bum rap

I love these 30s exploitation flicks! This one definitely builds on the stereotypes of marihuana and its evil effects. Victims under the influence of this terrible narcotic wear menacing smiles and blank eyed stares. They gad about and jiggle in nightclubs while intoxicating themselves on copious amounts of alcohol as if mesmerized by the music. You will love how a couple of puffs/tokes/hits turn a group of young women into hysterical, sex crazed floozies! Man, that scene was funny.

On the down note, Burma (nice to be named after an aftershave) spirals downward into destruction and despair. Hey, don’t blame the pot, it didn’t make her become a heroin dealer! Very poor gateway drug reference they were trying to get across.

There seems to be a plot, but don’t bother following. Dialogue is lame, muffled, and you’ll be saying the phrase “who are you?” quite frequently throughout the film. I don’t think that guy’s spanish accent was authentic either. Doesn’t top the all-time kampy ‘Reefer Madness ‘, but it’s a load of hoots.