Devil’s Sleep, The

2499. THE DEVIL’S SLEEP (1949-USA). With LITA GREY CHAPLIN, TIMOTHY FARRELL, GEORGE EIFERMAN (MR. AMERICA OF 1948). This low-budget but high-spirited cornball melodrama is a self-proclaimed “sensational expose of the sleeping pill racket.” The setting is Hometown USA, where hopped-up high school students are slipping into juvenile delinquency. The adolescent dope addicts are living in a “whirlpool of speed and confusion.” Into this chaos comes dedicated juvenile court judge Rosalind Ballantine (played by Charlie Chaplin’s second wife, Lita Grey Chaplin), who wages an all-stops-out war on this teenage scourge. Undercover narcotics cop Dave Carrigan sniffs out the leader of the drug- dealing racket. He is a diabolical underworld figure and ex-con named Umberto Scalli. Scalli runs a gym for fat ladies who exercise in skimpy shorts and bathing suits. When these women become frustrated trying to shed their excess poundage, Scalli’s slimy staff sells them “bennies and goofies” for quick loss of lard. To attract female customers, Scalli hires muscleman George Eiferman, who has no idea of the devil’s pit he has entered. (One wonders if he had any idea of the quality of the film in which he was appearing!) The most stimulating sequence is the bobbysoxer poolside party, where the drinks are spiked and the kids are out of control. Scantily-clad girls play blindman’s bluff. One naked miss gets her picture taken by Scalli’s henchman√Ďand she happens to be Judge Ballantine’s daughter! Sit back and enjoy this hilariously awful, mind-blowing expose of the teen dope fiends and addicted fat ladies who constitute the drug trade in good old Hometown USA! 73 minutes. Exploitation