Wednesday, March 11, 2009

German sex film shown in Britain: women riot, men faint

Today, another dose of research bycatch from the pages of the late 1920s Daily Herald (which later became The Sun, though at the time it was the voice of the trade unions).

Looking for something else entirely, I ran across these two articles dealing with public reactions to a German-made film called 'The Dangers of Ignorance' that apparently sought to educate people about sexually transmitted diseases.

The result was...well, see for yourself.

By the way, my five-minute Google search exhaustive research hasn't brought up any information about the film itself, but if any of you know or find something about it, I'd be delighted to know.

It sounds like strong stuff.

(Text in bold was highlighted in the original text.)

The Dangers of Ignorance

37 Men Faint at Film

Full Nursing Staff to Deal with ‘Casualties’

Amazing scenes are reported by a correspondent to have occurred at Leeds Town Hall, where the film “The Dangers of Ignorance” has been showing.

A full nursing staff had to be requisitioned to deal with the people who found the strain too much for them, and at one performance no fewer than 37 men were carried out in dead faints.

The film is shown to men and women separately. Women have been in greater evidence than the men folk, and it has been no uncommon occurrence to see a queue of over 1,000 women waiting to see the performance.

During one performance, when the hall was packed, the women in the queue attempted to rush the doors, and the attendants had all their work cut out to frustrate the persistent demand for admission.

When the film was first shown in London, “M.E.,” the Daily Herald film critic, raised the question whether the picture should be shown, adding, “it is doubtful. Only the strong of heart—and stomach—could sit it out.”

(Daily Herald, 7 May 1928, p. 5)

Women’s Riot at Film Show

5,000 Crowd for 1,400 Seats

Attack on Police

Bradford, Wednesday.—Five thousand women attempted to gain admission to a picture house here which seats only 1,400 persons, and when the house was full there was almost a riot outside, the police being roughly handled and reinforcements having to be sent for.

Scenes unprecedented in the history of the entertainment business in the city have been the rule this week in connection with the exhibition at the Regent Picture House in Manningham-lane of the picture, for adults only, “Dangers of Ignorance,” which deals with the danger and prevention of venereal diseases. The film was made in Germany, and is sponsored by the Central Council for Health Education.

The house has been filled to capacity at each of the six shows a day. The picture has thus been shown to 8,000 people daily, and quite a many have been turned away.
The audiences have been composed respectively of men only and women only, and last night a crowd of women, estimated at 5,000, were responsible for the amazing scene of disorder.


Hundreds of them waited in queues for about three hours, and when the notice “House full” was put out there was a riotous scene.

The few policemen present were knocked about and were utterly helpless. Their helmets were knocked off, and they were roughly used.

When reinforcements arrived in response to an urgent summons, the women became furious and resisted the efforts of the police to disperse the crowd. Hats were torn, umbrellas smashed, and a score or so of persons required attendance by ambulance men.

The manager, Mr. Grant, said to-day he had been in the business over 20 years, but had never seen or heard of anything like this before.

“I have never,” he said, “had to handle such a crowd. It was overwhelming.” Mr. Grant said that at last night’s performances 22 men were attended for illness, but only two women.

(Daily Herald, 17 May 1928, p. 5.)

So much, it seems, for the 'weaker sex'.


mikeovswinton; such, such were the joys said...

This revives memories of when I was at my all boys school. (A direct grant school in the North - go to wikipedia if you are too young to know what that means.)

We had the lecture on VD from the local venerologist when we around 15. He showed a set of slides of unfeasibly swollen male members. One particular photo caught the attention of the lad sat next to me. "What happened to that one, sir?" he asked. The doc turned to the screen and in a rather bored way said "Oh, it dropped off." I caught the lad before he hit the floor. The dangers of knowledge?

J. Carter Wood said...

Knowledge is a dangerous thing indeed. on such matters was a bit less direct, but still, in many ways based on generating a sense of fear. (By the time I was being shown photos of unfeasibly swollen genitalia, we were well into the AIDS era...)

I don't recall any fainting though.

Instead: there was plenty of nervous laughter.

And a bit of unfeasibly swollen bravado.