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on August 20, 2003
Being a fan of vintage instructional films like those featured in the EDUCATIONAL ARCHIVES collection, I had to buy this DVD when I learned that it included several "facts of life" movies from the 1940's. As it turns out, those short films are only a small part of the attractions on this very interesting disc. If you've always thought of exploitation films as schlocky productions with bad scripts and terrible acting, the movies included in this double feature will be a pleasant surprise. Be forewarned, however: there's some very graphic footage here, even by today's standards, showing stomach-turning close-ups of the effects of venereal disease and a step-by-step view of a Caesarean section being performed. Most of the images are in black & white, but it's still pretty strong stuff.
The first film on the double bill, STREET CORNER, is an effective little drama about a young woman from a "respectable" household who finds herself alone and helpless when she becomes pregnant. With nowhere else to go, she makes a visit to the wrong side of town in hopes of solving her problem -- with disastrous results. The cast is quite good in this film, and I think the story would hold up very well even without the educational material presented near the end. It's definitely an above-average production. Film buffs will note that the main character is played by Marcia Mae Jones, a wonderful actress who gave an unforgettable performance as one of the schoolchildren in the 1936 drama THESE THREE.
The second movie, BECAUSE OF EVE (The Story of Life), requires a bit of an explanation. If the prelude is to be believed, there were evidently three short educational films produced in the 1940's (one on VD, another on the biological details of reproduction, and a third on childbirth) that were incorporated into a conventional feature film with the goal of "getting the message out" to a larger audience. Thus we're treated to the story of a young couple engaged to be married who visit their friendly doctor. The doc almost shatters their wedding plans by revealing some shocking information about their past indiscretions, but everything turns out okay after he shows them some spirit-lifting sex education films. Again, though, this isn't just another throwaway exploitation picture. The plight of the couple is believeable, and the content of the educational films is actually quite bold and straightforward.
This DVD edition also features a short movie in color that takes things a step further by showing the birth of TRIPLETS as well as a circumcision (ouch!). The rest of the supplemental material is comprised of movie trailers and audio commentaries by noted exploitation producers. One of the producers, David Friedman, supplies a reasonable facsimile of the hygiene lecture/book pitch that was given during the intermission when the films were originally screened. If I had prepared this DVD, however, I think I would have opted for a simple voice-over of the speech accompanied by still photographs from the era. The modern color video sequence, inserted in the middle of the black & white movie, sort of disrupts the vintage feel of the story.
As mentioned earlier, there are some surprisingly explicit scenes in these movies, so I wouldn't recommend this DVD for the squeamish. However, if you're interested in history, forties pop culture, or if you simply enjoy educational material from a more innocent time, these entertaining films offer a fascinating peek at a period when America was undergoing some significant social changes.
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on April 5, 2015
I played this movie for some light background entertainment during dinner on Easter Sunday.

The first portion of this film was funny enough; a totally predictable plot fulfilled with bad acting. Then, it devolved into a lurid sex-education lecture; complete with in-your-face close-ups of vaginas and penises with syphilitic chancres, and a live vaginal birth that sent viewers (including myself) running from the room in horror!

The next time you want to liven up a party, play "Street Corner" to an unsuspecting audience. I'm still laughing; not at the movie itself, but how we all reacted to it. Hysterical!
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STREET CORNER is about Lois Marsh (Marcia Mae Jones). Her story is told, retrospectively, by Dr. James Fenton (Joseph Crehan). Lois is a typically naive young girl, living w/ her typically loving parents. One night, she and her boyfriend, Bob, go out to a swinging party at the country club. Alas, if only Lois' parents had simply explained the "facts of life" to her! If only Dr. Fenton had stopped by before Lois had left! Then, they would have been aware of the importance of his classes! Instead, Lois went out to certain perdition! The good Dr. narrates as Bob and Lois stop by the river, which can only lead to one thing! If only she'd sat in on one of Dr. Fenton's seminars! Now, they're in the throes of satanic passion, and we all know what that means! Soon, kisses are exchanged, and those only mean one thing! Yessiree, the devil is loose in Purity-ville! Not even a stop at the diner can assuage Lois' guilt at this point. She knows she's in deep sin, and that only hell awaits her! Thankfully, Dr. Fenton's disembodied voice accompanies her in her grief. Her oblivious parents don't know that Lois has a dark secret. A secret that can mean only one thing! Indeed, she bears the mark! She carries the "bundle of joy" within her! The eeevil bun is in the oven! Oh, Dr Fenton! Save us! Save us! Lois and Bob plan on doing the right, morally correct thing, but death and tragedy ensue. Lois must now think the unthinkable, and turn to worldly waitress, Kitty Mae (Jan Sutton) for the "low down", the "dope" as it were. Kitty tells Lois of a place where a hideous hag resides. A hag that performs a certain "procedure". The criminal operation is performed! Lois is surely doomed. Let this be a warning! Avoid this poor girl's fate! If you don't take heed, you'll just end up w/ Dr. Fenton, as he drones on, and on. In the end, we are shown the graphic "Miracle Of Birth" film at one of Dr. Fenton's lectures. In 1948 this probably knocked a few people to the floor! Nothing is held back here, and many must have been thankful that it's all in black and white! Next, a Caesarean section is shown. Finally, full-on male and female genitalia is on display in various stages of disease. Dr. Fenton narrates the ravages of sexually-transmitted diseases. Again, it's -blessedly- in black and white!...
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on February 16, 2013
This was one of those filme used by our parents in the fiftys to teach us the facts of life. It worked well then and still works today.
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on November 21, 2015
Interesting old sex education movie for the 50's.
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on September 10, 2015
Good info for its time.
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on May 3, 2015
This film is preachy and simplistic, but accurate as a record of its time. The acting is stilted, predictable, and lacking life; the actors too pretty and the story to clean. The film brushes past (using narration) the difficult interactions and the potentially embarrassing discussion. But all of that is just lead-up to the views of an actual birth, an actual caesarian section, and views of diseased genitalia. It's not easy stuff to watch, but it is not meant to be; it was meant to dissuade young people from engaging in sex. I think it likely served its purpose.
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on April 13, 2015
Interesting mainly as ece of history, this polemic against abortion gets tiring. Narrated by the family doctor, the film wastes no time injecting a sermon into every pkace possible. Interestngly, it shows a film of childbirth-very real! Don't be fooled by the title or poster art.
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on June 8, 2015
It's pld
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on August 31, 2014
Two classics!
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