John Wayne's Anti-Marijuana Propaganda Movie

John Wayne - who was born 109 years ago today - will always be best remembered as the rugged, drawling cowboy in hit westerns like Rio Bravo (1959) and True Grit (1969). But he also starred as a detective trying to bust marijuana smugglers. And you probably haven't seen that movie unless you live in Europe.

As the title character in "Big Jim McLain" (1952), The Duke played a detective working for the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee - i.e. the group of congressmen assembled to weed out communists from America.

The movie follows Wayne as he's dispatched to break up a nest of communist dissidents operating in Hawaii. As Turner Classic Movies notes, the film is part of a trend in Hollywood during the early Cold War era, when "numerous pictures of the 1950s took pleasure in depicting, exposing, and condemning [communism]."

But producers apparently didn't think the film's anti-communist angle would go over well in Europe. So in markets like Italy, the film was re-dubbed so that Wayne was chasing marijuana smugglers instead of communists. And they didn't stop at changing dialogue. They also renamed the film "Marijuana."

That the red-scare can be translated so easily into reefer-madness rhetoric probably says something about political hysteria in America.

We couldn't find a clip of the redubbed film, but you can buy a poster of the rebranded film on Amazon.

h/t New York Post

banner image: wikipedia.org

Latest.

After making progress on marijuana reform, the legalization movement has stalled in two New England states. Cannabis became legal in Vermont last July, but state lawmakers did not put a regulated market for marijuana in place at that time. So while adults in Vermont can possess, grow and consume cannabis, they can't buy it legally.

Can we see some ID please?

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter.