Assassin of Youth (film #1 on disc #1 of Schlock Hysteria, section #10 of Total Movie & Entertainment free DVD set). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

This is one of the campiest of the pseudoeducational exploitation films of the 30s. An investigative reporter infiltrates a group of small-town teenagers to get the scoop on teen marijuana use. He gets in the middle of a plot to swindle "good girl" Joan out of her inheritance by making it look like she's gone bad. The film has everything you look for in this kind of film: cheesy production values; a total ignorance about the effects of and the culture surrounding marijuana use ("I want one of those cigarettes that pep you up!" "Oh, you mean reefers?"); a film-within-a-film about the evils of the drug (The Marijuana Menace); lots of jazzy party scenes; a shadowy undressing scene which, of course, is essential to the plot; and lots of scenery chewing. It also has more character actors than you can shake a stick at, including a Margaret Hamilton wanna-be who rides around town on a bizarre scooter shouting gossip everywhere, a cranky curmudgeon of a town druggist, and a judge who is only slightly more reputable than W. C. Fields. About two-thirds of the way through the film, these character actors practically take over the film, turning the courtroom scene into something out of the Marx Brothers. Which is pretty weird in a film that was supposed to be a serious expose of the drug problem. But it certainly adds to the entertainment value of this film. If you're looking for a great, campy "party film," this is it. Just watch out for investigative reporters and old ladies on scooters before handing out any cigarettes that pep you up.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: *****.

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