With World War II raging in Europe, roadshow shockers all but faded from the exploitation scene… with Devil’s Harvest
one of the few exceptions, and doing its patriotic duty by warning Americans everywhere to stay vigilant against the Menace of Marijuana, specifically the peddling of marijuana to high-school kids. “Here, before us, in peace and tranquility, stands one of the greatest symbols of American democracy – the public school. But the shadow of lurking evil takes form in many guises” such as – brace yourselves – the innocent hot dog. Yup, “an innocent hot-dog stand, which is situated across the street from a public institution of learning,” is serving reefers on a bun! Just say, “Fix me a hot dog, Oliver, and a stack
!” Oh, the bastards!!!
The above-mentioned Oliver is an old coot who’s being used by the mob: “I’m sorry for the day I ever got mixed up with you fellas!” Another part of the mob’s operation involves “big shot” Cliff Dennis, who actively pursues teens as potential targets by creating his own teenage-style hangout in an abandoned warehouse. Upping the ante, Cliff talks goody-goody tap dancer Kay O’Farrell (jovial JUNE DOYLE) into performing for the gang: “We’re going ritzy for the first time tonight and we’d like to have you star in the floor show!” But straight-arrow Tom Dailey accompanies Kay and quickly gets into a fist-fight with Cliff that suddenly expands into a full-scale riot and --
Oh, geez, what’s this?! Right in the middle of the big fight, the film cuts to a couple we’ve never seen before in what is presumably another room (but looks like an apartment somewhere else). The guy gives the gal a joint, she gets dizzy and is soon stripping down to her bra and panties to dance. Yup, it sure looks like some insert footage was added to spice things up some time after this epic was long finished.
Anyway, a girl is killed at the riot, the police start investigating and, once law enforcement realizes a marijuana racket is in their midst, they spring into action… by having Kay go undercover. Say, what
? Yup, little Miss O’Farrell sets up Cliff, helps bust the hot-dog seller, and effectively tap dances her way into the mob by becoming “a showgirl in a high-class nightclub” where she becomes both the perky girlfriend of the Big Boss and an all-too-happy stool pigeon….
Released by J.D. KENDIS’ Continental Pictures, Devil’s Harvest
is typical drug-film silliness, naïve and simplistic with a 40’s flavor to its music and dialogue, that certainly follows the pattern of marijuana movies like Assassin of Youth
and Reefer Madness
before it. Nevertheless, marijuana quickly faded from the movie screen and it wasn’t until movie star Robert Mitchum was arrested for smoking weed at the home of starlet-wannabe Lila Leeds that marijuana made its roadshow return when Miss Leeds starred in 1949’s Wild Weed
, aka She Should’a Said No!
, which, like Devil’s Harvest
, used the threat of drugs to sell sex: “She’s a Good Girl until She Smokes a Reefer!”
-- Mr. Daddy-O
Leo AnthonyOther cast:
George Graham, Ben Barlow, Ed MurrayDirected by: