Monday, June 30, 2008

Reefer Madness (2004)

Original Reefer Madness was not a government funded film but was funded by a Church group in 1936 and originally entitled: Tell Your Children as a warning guide for parents. Then Exploitation Film Maker Dwayne ???? got his hands on it and after spicing it up, changed its name to "Reefer Madness".

The original play started in Los Angeles for a 2 year run. After that it moved to New York City where Paula Abdul changed the choreography where it opened off Broadway 4 days after September 11, 2001 and then closed shortly afterward. Bigger problems the USA had to deal with other than the drug war.

Harry J. Anslinger:
Harry Jacob Anslinger (May 20, 1892 – November 14, 1975) held office as the Assistant Prohibition Commissioner in the Bureau of Prohibition, before being appointed as the first Commissioner of the Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) on August 12, 1930.

He held office an unprecedented 32 years in his role (rivaled only by J. Edgar Hoover), holding office until 1962. He then held office two years as US Representative to the United Nations Narcotics Commission. The responsibilities once held by Harry J. Anslinger are now largely under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. Anslinger died at the age of 83 of heart failure in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Today he is most remembered for his campaign against marijuana, but in his work he probably spent much more time on work against illegal trading of heroin, opium and cocaine[1]. He has been the target of much criticism, though it is evident that the use of illicit drugs in the United States during his last decade as head of Federal Bureau of Narcotics was evidently lower than it is today.

The made-for-cable musical satire Reefer Madness is based on the award-winning play of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the notorious -- and deliciously awful -- 1936 anti-marijuana film originally titled Tell Your Children. A smarmy lecturer (Alan Cumming in the first of his three roles in the film) arrives in a typical small town of the late '30s to warn the populace of the dangers of the "evil weed," bringing along a lurid propaganda film to dramatize his message. In broad, unsubtle, and hilarious strokes, the movie-within-a-movie shows how even a squeaky-clean pair of highschoolers named Mary Lane (Kristen Bell) and Jimmy Harper (Christian Campbell) can become hopeless dope addicts by succumbing to the lure of marijuana. Reefer Madness is not only a savage skewering of the original black-and-white movie (some of the musical's campiest lines are taken directly from the earlier script!), but also a devastating attack on what playwrights Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney consider to be the real reason that the 1936 movie was made: to frighten the public out of their wits in order to keep them under the thumb of an oppressive government. Thus, the musical manages to take a number of not-so-veiled swipes at xenophobia, racism, McCarthyism, the Bush Administration's Homeland Security policy, and even the recent FCC clampdown on "offensive" TV fare (one of the film's highlights is a garish nightclub number featuring Jesus Christ). The ebulliently staged songs include "The Stuff," "Down at the Ol' Five and Dime," "Lonely Pew," "Listen to Jesus Jimmy," "Mary Jane/Mary Lane," "The Brownie Song," "Tell 'Em the Truth," and the title number. Officially titled Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, this film first aired April 16, 2005, on the Showtime cable service. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 109 mins
Reefer Madness (2004)

Special Features:
1. Original Film "Reefer Madness (1936)". This version is suppose to be 70 minutes but the one on this disk special features only records it as 65 minutes. Decided to not rent the original version.
2. Behind the scenes (Grass Roots), which the top paragraphs were derived from.
3. Commentary with Director, Producers and Cast members. I recognized some of the choreography moves was out of Bollywood's movies. Which they talked about in the commentary. But overall the commentary had too many people talking shit to be worth it, except for a humor.
4. Cast Biographies
5. Photo Gallery

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