Marihuana, Motherhood & Madness: Three Screenplays from the Exploitation Cinema of Dwain Esper

by Wood, Bret
4.8 out of 5 Customer Rating
ISBN: 9780810833753

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Marihuana, Motherhood & Madness features the complete shooting scripts of three Depression-era films directed by independent filmmaker Dwain Esper. A topic of growing interest among cinema aficionados and scholars, the lowbrow exploitation genre was the means by which small-scale entrepreneurs could compete with the major studios. Exploitation films addressed such controversial topics as drug use, prostitution, abortion, child marriage, and even bestiality--topics the major studios were forbidden to address by the Production Code Administration--salaciously exploiting the profitability of such taboo issues, while justifying their prurience by posing as educational tracts. Dwain Esper (1894-1982) was the exploitation industry's most audacious figure. Without any formal training in filmmaking, he operated his own film lab and studio (which he acquired when a debtor defaulted on a loan) and in 1932 began tapping into Depression America's appetites for iniquity. As technically crude as his films are, they possess a savage beauty and are highlighted by moments of sublime tenderness and startling horror, proving that Esper had a natural gift for the medium, even if he was only involved for the money. The screenplays included are: Modern Motherhood (1934), a social commentary on liberal marriages, abortion, and face-lifts; Maniac (1934), a treatise on mental illness delivered in the low-budget horror-movie format; and Marihuana: Weed with Roots in Hell (1936), a "drug scare" film in which a few puffs set an innocent high-school girl on a downward spiral to become a heroin-addicted, drug-pushing kidnapper.
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Author: Wood, Bret
  • ISBN: 9780810833753
  • Condition: Used
  • Dimensions: 8.78 x 0.91
  • Number Of Pages: 272
  • Publication Year: 1998

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