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Sex hygiene film

Related: sex education - social hygiene - white coaters

Since it is listed on a page about Kroger Babb, I would assume that this is one of the leaflets Kroger Babb sold on his roadshows.
image sourced here.

Sex hygiene film

The sex hygiene film was, along with "white slavery" films, a popular strain of early exploitation cinema. It greatly led to the adoption of the production code.
A particularly important type of exploitation film of this era was the "sex hygiene" exploitation film, which featured white-coated "doctors" describing the how-tos of sex education to the fascinated and naive audience. Often times, the film would be attended by another "doctor" in a white coat selling sex-hygiene booklets in the lobby after the film screening. Usually the producers would make significantly more money from the sales of the booklets than the from the tickets to see the film. This type of film was also known as a "road show," because it was shown from town to town and was promoted in advance like a circus or carnival. One of the most famous of these was "Mom and Dad" which featured actual birth footage.

Sometimes the sex hygiene films would verge into what would be seen as shock exploitation today, showing graphic footage of the ravages of venereal disease. However, showman David Friedman said that in all his years presenting sex-hygiene films as a road show, patrons sometimes came out pale and shaken, but none asked for their money back. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venereal_disease [Nov 2005]

Sex Hygiene (1942)

Sex Hygiene (1942) - Otto Brower, John Ford

Summary: Almost turned me off sex. Not quite, but almost . . .

Every GI who has ever seen this never forgets it. Even though it was made in 1941, it was shown to new soldiers on a regular basis for at least 25 years, and I know of one ex-GI who saw it when he enlisted in 1970. It could well be showing now, for all I know. The film is interesting because it is far better produced and acted than virtually any other training film ever made. It was directed by John Ford, produced by Darryl Zanuck, and featured professional Hollywood actors of the caliber of Robert Lowery and George Reeves. If that wasn't enough to set it apart from the run-of-the-mill training film, then the footage of diseased faces, lips and other body parts was. Even more horrifying than that, though (for a newly enlisted 18- or 19-year-old, at least) was the footage of what someone who was suspected of having syphilis (which, by 1941 morality, meant anyone who had sexual contact of any kind) had to go through. Soldiers were required to report any sexual contact they may have had, and had to be examined by a doctor and given preventive "treatment" (which involved a procedure too graphic and, frankly, nauseating to describe here). The film served its purpose, temporarily at least--if Hedy Lamar and Betty Grable had shown up naked outside the theater after this film was shown, no soldier would have gone within 50 feet of them. Of course, that would have lasted for all of 10 minutes.

Anyway, I don't recommend this for anybody with a weak stomach. Or even a strong stomach. Or even a VERY strong stomach. The footage of the effects of syphilis are extremely hard to take--which, after all, was the whole point of showing them. --frankfob via imdb.com

Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods (1914)

Although DAMAGED GOODS is one of the 50% of films made before 1950 to be lost, it is worth commenting on it here to express its importance in telling about venereal diseases before film and literature dealt with that subject regularly. The film deals with Sexually-Transmitted Diseases as contacted to a young student by an older girl. The story deals with a young college graduate who doesn't know what to do with his future. He is applauded by his parents and their friends at their Los Angeles home. One night, he meets an older woman who is a friend of his parents. Since the woman's husband is not home, the graduate drops her off at her house, then she ends up inviting him inside and seducing him. (Sound familiar?) The film could be entertaining today...if it survived. Richard Bennett stars as the college graduate(yes, that is the same Richard Bennett who played Major Amberson in Orson Welles' THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS [1942]). Anyhow, don't despair film buffs! Preservationists like Brownlow, Shepard, and the UCLA film preservation committee have salvaged hundreds of films once thought lost. One day, this artifact might turn up in somebody's basement or some long-forgotten film vault in some old forgotten Hollywood studio. One can only hope... --http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0003815/ [May 2005]

Damaged Goods (1937) - Phil Goldstone
During the late 1930s and into the '40s, this film was constantly revived on the roadshow circuit with a spicy ad campaign and a new title: "Forbidden Desires". Surviving publicity material shows plenty of lascivious appeal but mentions nothing about the film being about venereal disease. --http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028754/

Both movies are based on a play by Eugène Brieux (1858 - 1932)

Eugène Brieux
Eugène Brieux (January 19, 1858 - December 6, 1932), French dramatist, was born in Paris of poor parents.

His plays are essentially didactic, being aimed at some weakness or iniquity of the social system.

Les Avariés (1901), forbidden by the censor, on account of its medical details, was read privately by the author at the Théâtre Antoine; and Petite amie (1902) describes the life of a Parisian shop-girl. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eug%E8ne_Brieux [May 2005]

Clap opera [...]

Damaged Goods marked the birth of the sex-hygiene film. A ripoff called A Victim of Sin came out almost immediately, and there were at least 20 more films about VD before 1920. But the real birth of what producers would come to call the "clap opera" occurred at the end of World War I, when a man named Isaac Silverman purchased two films that the armed services had used to train soldiers about the dangers of venereal disease. Fit to Fight, the story of five young men in army training camp, and The End of the Road, the story of two women in trouble, included explicit medical footage showing the ravages of gonorrhea and syphilis, complete with pus-filled open sores.

--Joe Bob Briggs, http://reason.com/0311/fe.jb.kroger.shtml, Nov 2003

Production code [...]

The sex hygiene film contributed greatly to the notorious Production Code that would muzzle Hollywood studios for decades to come. The first motion picture censorship law had been passed in Chicago in 1907, and by 1921 seven states had censorship boards, with new ones sprouting all the time. In an effort to head off government control of movies, Hollywood adopted "Thirteen Points or Standards," forbidding such things as the on-screen exploitation of sex, white slavery, nakedness, "illicit love and vice," narcotics use, vulgarity, ridicule of authority, miscegenation, profanity, and disrespect for religion. This list evolved into the "Don’ts and Be Carefuls" of 1927, which specifically added sex hygiene and venereal disease, childbirth scenes, and children’s sex organs. And all of this was consolidated into the Production Code of 1930, after which 98 percent of all movies released were judged and censored. --Joe Bob Briggs, http://reason.com/0311/fe.jb.kroger.shtml, Nov 2003

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