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Collection of original cinema ephemera representing a cross-section of the history of drug use in cinema from the Silent era through to the late 1980s
N.p. Collection of posters and lobby cards illustrating the history of drug use as portrayed in cinema, beginning with the Silent era, moving through to the drug scare era of the 1930s-1950s, the experimentation era of the early 1960s, the explosion of drug culture-related films just prior to and following the Summer of Love in 1967, and the films of the late 1970s and 1980s, where drug culture was so accepted as to be a realistic context for any kind of story. Featured are 73 items representing 21 films made throughout this period by Poverty Row studios, Hollywood studios, and the independent studios that emerged after the collapse of the Hollywood system in the early 1960s. Key to the collection are a rare hand-tinted lobby card from a lost silent film, a rare Mexican poster for a highly regarded Argentinian neo-realist film, and a striking Japanese one sheet from the seminal 1967 Roger Corman film, “The Trip.” Included in the collection are the following: A rare and striking lobby card from “Human Wreckage” (1923), an independently produced silent film made by Dorothy Davenport, wife of Silent era superstar Wallace Reid, who died of a morphine overdose. Also, a still photo depicting opium use, from the 1923 silent film, “Java Head.” One sheet posters, heralds, and lobby cards from several films of the 1930s and 1940s that amount to anti-drug exploitation, including “The Pace That Kills” (1935, cocaine), “Marihuana” (1936, bleak exploitation classic making a case for a hard connection between marijuana and prostitution), “Devil's Harvest” (1942, marijuana), and “She Shoulda Said No” (1949, government-issue propaganda showing the evils of marijuana use). A rare Mexican poster from an Argentinian film, “The Marihuana Story” (1950, León Klimovsky) wherein a respected surgeon is forced to experience a nightmarish world after his wife, a marijuana addict, dies in a nightclub. In the process of investigating the seedy world his wife called home, he is subjected to every form of violence and non-voluntary drug administration imaginable, resulting in what may be one of the first "flashbacks" depicted onscreen. An entry at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival, today apparently lost. The 1960s focused on less paranoid and more socially aware" drug-related stories. Included from this era are 4 items: one sheet poster from an unusual film about a government investigation into amphetamine use in long-haul trucking, “Death in Small Doses” (1957); one sheet and a set of still photos for “Monkey on My Back” (1957), a biopic about Barney Ross, a World War II hero and champion boxer whose life came unraveled due to morphine addiction; a window card and lobby card set for “Stakeout on Dope Street” (1958), a stark, noirish crime film about three teenagers who come upon a briefcase containing heroin and decide to sell it themselves; and a one sheet poster for “Hallucination Generation” (1966), in which an elderely George Montgomery plays a sleazy merchant on the Spanish isles who takes it upon himself to corrupt an innocent young boy with hallucinogenic drugs. A set of lobby cards from a highly unusual and prescient comedy, “Movie Star American Style; or, LSD, I Hate You” (1966) which, along with the aforementioned “Hallucination Generation,” anticipated the LSD craze by about a year, including a tinted "trip" sequence "in hilarious LSD color." One sheet poster from Roger Corman's seminal “Summer of Love” drug film, “The Trip” (1967), and a set of posters and lobby cards from “Way Out” (1967), a documentary-esque, unsentimental account of two men who drift into heroin addiction together, cast with non-actors who were former heroin users. One sheet poster and insert poster for “The Hooked Generation” (1968), a Hollywood response to the "insider" films about drug use that began coming out in 1967, with drug users shown as harshly drawn caricatures; and half sheet poster from “Mary Jane” (1968), a thoughtful independent film starring Fabian about a school considering the possibility of allowing marijuana use. One sheet posters for three films from the late 1960s and 1970s that are not so much films about drug use as they are stories told through the established lens of hippie culture, and told from that culture's perspective rather than the perspective of those who feared it: “Wild in the Streets” (1968), a truly psychedelic fantasy wherein teenagers take over the US Congress, elect a rock star, and throw everyone over 30 years of age into concentration camps; “Sign of Aquarius” (1970), a story set in Cleveland during the winter of 1969, depicting a hippie commune just doing what hippies do--releasing an underground newspaper, arguing politics among themselves, using drugs, and having love-ins; and “Zachariah” (1971), a cult classic by two members of the Firesign Theatre that retells Hesse's “Siddhartha” as a psychedelic Western in a mode that emulates “El Topo” and predicts the bigger-budget (and less effective) epics that would follow, “Tommy” and “Hair.” One sheet poster for a chilling release from Troma, “Story of a Junkie” (1987), showing the drug culture film come full cycle, where drugs are no longer frightening, explosive, or cool, but simply a way of life. A graphic and unsparing portrait of junkie life during the rough-and-tumble days of mid-1980s Manhattan. Pitts, pp. 203-204, 213-214, 325, 328.
      [Bookseller: Royal Books]
Last Found On: 2012-12-27           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    

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