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Child Bride  /  Sex Madness

Child Bride
September 22, 2019 - 7:00 pm

Seventh Commandment trailer  (1932)

DCP, b/w, 2 min.

How to Undress  (1938)

After a warning to the ladies about today’s modern “super peeper,” this short purports to reveal the educational power of candid cameras. Unawares in her bedroom, Elaine Barry Barrymore, the fourth and final wife of John Barrymore, demonstrates the correct method of disrobing as compared to the comic fumblings of former vaudeville star Trixie Friganza.

DCP, b/w, 15 min. Director: Dwain Esper.

Child Bride  (1938)

When the Legion of Decency condemned Child Bride for its “sensual presentation of sordidness, suggestive sequences… and indecent costuming,” it may have had a point. Shirley Mills made her feature debut at the age of 12 as Jennie, a mountain ragamuffin and pre-adolescent object of desire for the men of her isolated town who have, by consensus, declared her “the prettiest young’un in the community.” A crusading local teacher, moonshiners and a mob of backwood thugs all clash in the course of events as a consequence. Child Bride claims the mantle of progressive reform—raising the age of consent in the Appalachians—while director Revier takes every opportunity to present Mills—especially in a notorious skinny dipping sequence—as an object of desire for his audience, as well.

DCP, b/w, 62 min. Director: Harry Revier. Cast: Shirley Mills, Bob Bollinger, Warner Richmond.

Sex Madness  (1938)

Brace yourself. After a standard wringing of the hands over venereal disease—”humanity must be enlightened”—Sex Madness is a sizzle reel of show girls, champagne, moral hypocrisy and innuendo until suddenly it’s not. After an astonishingly naive show girl puts her trust in the wrong smooth talker doling out champagne—”Oh, it fizzes!”—and catches a dose of syphilis, a doctor takes her on a tour of the hospital’s VD ward. A graphic montage of advanced symptoms followed later, when she becomes pregnant, by a grim parade of similarly affected infants. No degree of ironic viewing will spare you.

DCP, b/w, 59 min. Director: Dwain Esper. Cast: Vivian McGill, Rose Tapley, Al Rigeli.