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The Road to Ruin (1934)

During the studio era, extreme topics like promiscuity, abortion and drug abuse were forbidden under the Production Code. That didn’t stop independent companies from making sensationalistic films on those topics. For writer-director Dorothy Davenport, however, it wasn’t just exploitation. She had lived it. She was the widow of silent star Wallace Reid, who died trying to kick his morphine addiction. Billing herself as “Mrs. Wallace Reid,” she produced, wrote and sometimes directed films on sensitive topics. In this remake of the 1928 silent of the same title, drinking and smoking lead high school co-ed Ann Dixon, played by Helen Foster, into a life of debauchery. Davenport co-stars as the juvenile court official who tries to set Foster straight and gives the film an educational element that helped get it past local censors. 

d. Dorothy Davenport & Melville Shyer, 62m, DCP