Feature Film Showcase – Sex Madness (1938)

Showcasing classic movies that have fallen out of copyright and are available freely from the public domain


Sex Madness, 1938.

Directed by Dwain Esper.
Starring Vivian McGill, Rose Tapley, Al Rigeli, Stanley Barton and Linda Lee Hill.

After re-releasing the anti-drugs morality piece Tell Your Children to the exploitation circuit in 1936 under the more lurid moniker Reefer Madness, filmmaker Dwain Esper followed this up with Sex Madness, an ‘educational’ melodrama that managed to get around the strict Hollywood Production Code by claiming to warn against the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. It was initially released as Human Wreckage and later reissued under the names They Must Be Told! and Trial Marriage, with distributors were reportedly offput by the use of the word ‘sex’ in the title, although it has also been claimed that the changes were a way of having audiences unwittingly paying to see the same film again.

Sex Madness centres on young beauty queen Millicent (Vivian McGill) who dreams of becoming famous and ends up working at a seedy burlesque club in New York City. Naturally, engaging in unhealthy doses of wild orgies, pre-marital sex and lesbianism soon catches up with Millicent, who contracts syphilis and – after returning home to her childhood sweetheart – begins to realise the consequences of her whoring ways.


Embed courtesy of Internet Archive.

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Movies… For Free! Reefer Madness (1936)

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