Damaged Lives (1933)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Marriage Drama, Medical Drama  |   Run Time - 53 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Although venereal disease was considered as delicate a subject then as it is now, this was nonetheless the third filmed version of Eugène Brieux' 1901 play Les Avariés, known in English-speaking lands as Damaged Lives. Don is a shallow, naïve former ship's officer trying to make the transition to an executive position in the shipping company. He breaks a dinner engagement with his longtime fiancée Joan in order to make a night on the town with one of his company's clients. The client ends up drunk, and at the end of the long night Don ends up with Elise, a woman of dubious reputation who nevertheless lives in an impressive, Art Deco-styled apartment. Although he feels guilty about the affair, Don swiftly marries his sweetheart, only to get the phone call from "the other woman" saying she must see him immediately. Elise confronts Don discreetly that she has given him the gift that keeps on giving, which he refuses to believe. Elise then promptly kills herself, but later Don gets another call from a VD clinic which is treating his wife. After a harrowing visit to a series of "too-far-gone" patients, Don sees the light and agrees to get treatment. But the psychological effect on Joan has different results, and Don must rise to the occasion to save them both. Damaged Lives was initially released in Canada and a few cities in the United States but was stopped by censors in most American towns. In 1937 it was re-released as The Shocking Truth with a 29-minute lecture on VD added onto the end of the film to satisfy censors. Most current video releases do not include this extra material. A week after it opened, a competing domestic version of Damaged Lives also appeared, and with its similar storyline it is often confused with this Canadian film. There is no comparison stylistically, as Edgar G. Ulmer put far more into Damaged Lives than the property and its 18,000-dollar budget deserved.



doctor, extramarital-affair, husband-and-wife, STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), VD (Venereal Disease)