|Directed by||Edgar G. Ulmer|
|Produced by||J. J. Allen (producer)|
Maxwell Cohn (producer)
Nat Cohn (producer)
|Written by||Edgar G. Ulmer (screenplay) |
Donald Davis (dialog)
|Based on||play Les Avariés |
by Eugène Brieux (uncredited)
|Cinematography||Allen G. Siegler|
|Edited by||Otto Meyer|
Weldon Pictures Corporation
|Distributed by||Weldon Pictures (Columbia Pictures)|
|22 May 1933|
19 August 1933
15 September 1933
|Countries||Canada, United States|
Damaged Lives was initially released in Canada and a few cities in the United States but screenings were blocked by censors in most American towns. In 1937, the film was re-released as The Shocking Truth with a 29-minute supplementary lecture on VD added onto the end of the film to satisfy censors. Most current video releases do not include this extra material.
Along with the controversial subject matter, the film contains one of the earliest filmed nude scenes in a sequence where a group of fun-loving women strip naked and go skinny dipping.
The film hinges on a casual sexual encounter.
A boss insists that a young executive, with an important job and a long-term girlfriend, go out for the evening with an important client. They go to a swank party, where he meets the businessman's escort. Their personalities connect, and after the businessman leaves with another woman, they leave together and have a casual sexual encounter. The next day, the executive proposes to his girlfriend, they marry, and she becomes pregnant. The escort subsequently learns that she has syphilis from the businessman and summons the executive. She informs him of the situation, then kills herself.
Later, a medical exam on the wife reveals that her unborn child has syphilis, indicating that one or both of the parents are syphilitic. The executive reveals that he passed it on from the escort. Their friends, while supportive, now want to avoid physical contact with the pair. The distraught wife then tries to kill herself and her husband, thinking that they could never live a normal life.
The husband tries to console his wife...explaining how treatments are available and that they can be cured. When another friend calls the wife to say she also has syphilis and her worries are so trivial, the wife finally realizes she will be okay.
- Diane Sinclair as Joan Bradley
- Lyman Williams as Donald Bradley Jr.
- Harry Myers as Nat Franklin
- Marceline Day as Laura Hall
- Jason Robards Sr. as Dr. Bill Hall
- Charlotte Merriam as Elise Cooper
- Murray Kinnell as Dr. Vincent Leonard
- George Irving as Donald Bradley Sr.
- Cecilia Parker as Rosie
- Almeda Fowler as Mrs. Bradley
- Harrison Greene as Policeman (uncredited)
- Victor Potel (Undetermined Role) (uncredited)
- Harry Semels as Waiter (uncredited)
Filmed in 1933, this cautionary tale was distributed under the name Weldon Pictures, because Columbia did not want to be associated with the topic of the film. The end title of the Internet Archive print says the film was an Educational Film Exchanges, Inc. release.
Although some scenes in the film were cut by state film censor boards in Maryland and Ohio, it was still very popular in the United States. For example, in Baltimore 65,000 people saw the film, representing approximately 10% of the population.
- Schaefer, Eric (1999). "Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!": A History of Exploitation Films, 1919–1959. Duke University Press. pp. 180, 419. ISBN 0-8223-2374-5.
- Damaged Lives at the American Film Institute Catalog.
- Bogdanovich, Peter (1997) Who the Devil made it : conversations with Robert Aldrich, George Cukor, Allan Dwan, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Chuck Jones, Fritz Lang, Joseph H. Lewis, Sidney Lumet, Leo McCarey, Otto Preminger, Don Siegel, Josef von Sternberg, Frank Tashlin, Edgar G. Ulmer, Raoul Walsh in libraries (WorldCat catalog) (New York: Knopf) ISBN 978-0-3454-0457-2
- Rist, Peter (2001). Guide to the Cinema(s) of Canada (Westport, Conn., and London: Greenwood Press), p. 77. ISBN 0-313-29931-5.
- Damaged Lives at AllMovie
- "Damaged Lives". Internet Archive. Retrieved 15 August 2016.