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Everything seems to be perfect in Donald Bradley's (Lyman Williams)
life: His dad (George Irving) has just made him vice president of his
shipping company, and he has a lovely girlfriend, Joan (Diane Sinclair),
who loves him very much. Then, at a business meeting, he meets pretty
young Elise (Charlotte Merriam), and they get on a bit too well together,
and after a tour through the speakeasies of town, they land in bed
After this encounter, Donald does the right thing: He
confesses everything to Joan, and since she claims she still loves him and
forgives him, he pushes ahead their marriage and doesn't even think about
Elise anymore ... until she calls him, forces him to meet her, and tells
him he has contracted syphillis from her - it wasn't her fault or her
intention, but fact is fact ... After this confession she shoots herself.
first reaction is denial, but his friend, physician Bill (Jason Robards
sr) finds out anyhow and sends him and his wife - who has contracted the
disease from Donald of course - to a specialist (Murray Kinnell), who
opens their eyes to the horrors of syphilis and urges them to undergo
treatment, especially since Joan is carrying a baby. This all throws Joan
into a depression, so much so that she tries to kill herself, her unborn
child and her husband by turning on the gas in their apartment, and Donald
can only just keep her from succeeding. It's only when right after this
episode a pregnant friend of Joan calls with a silly question that she
puts her own problems into perspective and the film ends on a laugh.
G.Ulmer's first US-American film, a typical 1930's style veneral disease
scare film, was certainly no masterpiece - but compared to similar films
by other directors, it's actually pretty good: Though made on a low budget
and based on a splay, it shows nothing of the staginess and directorial
neglect prevalent in the genre, instead the camerawork is fluent, the film
is well-paced, and a focus on drama rather than message keeps the film
from becoming ridiculous. That said, one simply can't denie the very blunt
plot and the below average cast - but as I said, the film is no