The men who brought you the sexploitation classic Test Tube Babies (1948) are at it again.
In The Devil’s Sleep, producer George Weiss and director W. Merle Connell expose the shocking truth about “reds” and “bennies” (a.k.a. Seconal and Benzedrine). Namely, that they’re being peddled out of swank health clubs to unwitting overweight middle-aged women who want to “reduce,” as well as to bored teenagers looking for kicks.
Bennies might have been great for keeping soldiers and aviators alert and awake during World War II, but we don’t want them on the tree-lined streets of our idyllic suburban neighborhoods, gosh darn it!
Timothy Farrell plays the mustachioed owner of the health club, Umberto Scalli, and William Thomason plays Detective Sergeant Dave Kerrigan, the man who’s warm on his trail.
If you’ve seen Test Tube Babies you may remember Thomason as the husband with the malfunctioning semen.
Timothy Farrell should be immediately recognizable to aficionados of bad movies. He got his start in Test Tube Babies and went on to a long and semi-illustrious career. He played the “Umberto Scalli” character in two more exploitation movies, Racket Girls (1951) and Dance Hall Racket (1953). Farrell also narrated legendarily bad filmmaker Ed Wood’s first movie, Glen or Glenda (1953), and appeared in it as a doctor.
Both Test Tube Babies and The Devil’s Sleep are awful movies, but they’re amusingly awful. Both use their “social message” aspect as an excuse for lots of scantily clad ladies and brief nudity. The Devil’s Sleep one-ups Test Tube Babies in this department, because it uses its health-club setting to also show off lots of male eye candy, most notably Mr. America 1948, George Eiferman.
The Devil’s Sleep is currently available in its entirety on YouTube. You can also download it from archive.org.