Good Morning! It’s Thursday and we all know what that means. The weekend is approaching and that means that all the usual temptations of the weekend are approaching as well. These temptations include drinking, smoking, dancing, premarital sex, prostitution, and near incest.
These are the temptations that are dealt with in the 1934 film The Road To Ruin.
Do you have an hour to spare?
If so, consider watching this film (a personal favorite of mine) and learning from the mistakes of Ann Dixon…
Here’s a few interesting facts about The Road To Ruin:
- The Road To Ruin is a prototypical example of the first independent films. Films like this one dealt with “social problems.” Typically, they would be about an “innocent” who would be led astray for 55 minutes before spending the last 10 minutes of the film either repenting or suffering the consequences of their actions.
- Since these films were shot outside of the Hollywood establishment, they were also “free” to show things that studio films wouldn’t even hint at. By today’s standards they may seem “tame” but for the 1930s, they were considered to be quite scandalous.
- This film is an almost shot-for-shot remake of a silent film that was also called The Road To Ruin. The first Road to Ruin was the top-grossing film of 1928 and was directed by Norton Parker. Helen Foster played the lead role in both versions of the film.
- According to the opening credits of the 1934 Road to Ruin, the remake was directed by Melville Shyer and “Mrs. Wallace Reid.” Mrs. Wallace Reid was actually Dorothy Davenport, a former silent film starlet. After her husband — the actor Wallace Reid — died of a drug overdose in 1923, Davenport directed several “social problem” films as Mrs. Wallace Reid.
- Despite the fact that this film is, technically, quite primitive, I love it for several reasons. The historian side of me loves that the film basically serves as a time capsule, preserving the society and the attitudes that produced it.
- The film lover in me loves just how melodramatic this film is. Seriously, I love how smoking cigarettes and sneaking a drink always serve to pave the road to Hell in films like this one. It’s interesting to contrast a film like this with modern-day anti-drug propaganda.
- Finally, as a lover of exploitation films both new and old, I love how this film shows off everything that it’s claiming to condemn.