Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Drunk Driving

Tomorrow morning at about 8:00 AM, TCM is showing the two-reeler Drunk Driving. You can probably guess what the subject of this short is. You might also be able to guess that this is another entry in MGM's Crime Does Not Pay series. This means that the short is a highly entertaining historical artifact of the way drunk driving was viewed back in 1939; however, as with most of the Crime Does Not Pay shorts it's a bit heavy-handed in the way it drives home its point (no pun intended).

One of the IMDb reviewers comments that it's interesting to see a Hollywood short take such an attitude toward drunk driving all the way back in 1939, as it wasn't considered quite the social taboo or something we had to have a legal crusade against until decades later. To be sure, there are a lot of movies where being drunk is portrayed as funny. Think the Thin Man movies, where it's "the sixth martini" that gets Nora Charles. THere are also movies where a character has a couple of drinks and then just gets into hsi car as though the alcohol had no effect.

On the other hand, the dangers of drink driving were known and there were characters who got into trouble for driving drunk and killing somebody. Just one year later, a young doctor goes to jail for DWI-related vehicu lar manslaughter in Millionaires in Prison. I believe Robert Montgomery's character in The Big House was also in prison for killing a person while driving drunk.

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