Eugène Brieux’s play Les Avaries endeavored to bring syphilis out of the shadows and erase the stigma surrounding it. Later adapted by Upton Sinclair into the novel Damaged Goods, the story became the backbone of countless sex hygiene films, in which a young couple’s happiness is overshadowed by the specter of disease. Made just before his influential horror film The Black Cat, Edgar G. Ulmer’s unauthorized rendition of the story (Damaged Lives) is grimly poetic, and deserves a place among the director’s finest work. Often overlooked in the exploitation cycle, Damaged Goods demonstrates how unexpectedly compelling these disreputable little films could be.
Audio commentary for Damaged Lives by Eric Schaefer, author of Bold! Daring! Shocking! True!: A History of Exploitation Films 1919-1959 | Audio commentary for Damaged Goods by Felicia Feaster, author of Forbidden Fruit: The Golden Age of the Exploitation Film | Four short films directed by Edgar G. Ulmer for the National Tuberculosis Association: Let My People Live (1939), Cloud in the Sky (1940), Goodbye, Mr. Germ (1940), and They Do Come Back (1940) | Two sex hygiene lecture reels | Trailers Region ABC