USA1941-1950CrimeExploitationSam Newfield

Sam Newfield – Wild Weed (1949)

One blast of an exploitation-noir (to coin a phrase) Wild Weed (aka She Shoulda Said No) was marketed by the legendary huckster Kroger Babb, and directed by the always reliable Sam Newfield (who could handle anything from noir to horror to all-midget musicals). Babb, who was legendary for his marketing and publicity techniques (he had some of the most incredible return-on-investment ratios of his time, among film producers), wasn’t averse to starting letter writing campaigns against his own pictures to drum up controversy and thus sell tickets.

Wild Weed was produced to capitalize on the arrest of Lila Leeds– infamously, along with Robert Mitchum– for posession of marijuana. The film weaves a sordid narrative of a young aspiring dancer (Leeds was a dancer who was aspiring to be an actress) who, while working hard to put her little brother through college, is introduced to the evils of weed by a sinister local dealer (played by the wonderfully oily Alan Baxter), promptly becomes “hooked”, and becomes a dealer herself. Her little brother, already guilty over his sponging an education off of his sisters grinding toil in dancehalls, comes home one day and discovers her selling drugs– and promptly hangs himself out of guilt. As in real life, the police raid one of her “drug parties”, and, prior to doing 60 days in jail (as Leeds did in real life) is given a Scare Tour of the nut ward, the cops putting on display all manner of women driven crazy or to ruin and hard narcotics via use of the demonic weed. While locked up, her character is tormented by “withdrawal”-amplified pangs of guilt, with many wonderfully photographed moments of hallucinations and panic.

Take special note of the manner in which Ms Leeds is made to “smoke”– in massive closeup, the physical routine she goes through resembles the performance of a sex act that will need no naming here. It’s no wonder that poor Ms. Leeds didn’t experience a career rebound after this film, given the times.

1.55GB | 1h 08m | 706×529 | mkv


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