Tomorrow’s Children (1934) – a story of good breeding..

Eugenics themed film available at the Internet Archive. It’s not a subtle film, though the movie itself is critical of three aspects of eugenical laws. The first being the seemingly healthy daughter of multi-generational dysgenic family was rubber stamped by a judge for sterilization. One of the doctors becomes involved in the case and fights to overturn the judgement.

The second is the rapist son of a politician who has his case thrown out merely on word of a Senator who is speaking on his behalf. The Senator brings along two doctors to speak on behalf of the boy, who had just tried raping his nurse in the room next to the courtroom.

The third is a criminal who is given a vasectomy in return for a reduced sentence. While on the operating room table, he says: “How’s this operation going to keep me from stealin’, or packing a rod to use if I get caught in a jam? Well it won’t. Just wait till I get out of stir some day, I’ll show ‘em.”

Here’s the IMDB page. Schlitzie (of Tod Browning’s “Freaks” fame) plays a small role here, with beard and hair!

Unfortunately the person who posted it recommends some crap from Alex Jones in the description of the film.

“The baby was born dead, good thing!”

Everything below lifted from other sites:

Tomorrow’s Children
(1934, 70 minutes, unrated)
This 1934 anti-sterilization melodrama is an entertaining and thought-provoking period piece. A welfare worker informs Mr. and Mrs. Mason that their family must either accept sterilization or forfeit welfare checks because most of their children are in jail, physically handicapped, or “feeble-minded”.. Included in the sterilization order is eldest daughter Alice, a seemingly healthy young girl, engaged to a young man named Jim.Perhaps because the filmmakers never quite made it clear where they stood regarding forced sterilization, Tomorrow’s Children was banned outright in many areas by the Catholic Legion of Decency. Directed and co-written by Crane Wilbur, a silent screen leading man who starred opposite Pearl White in the historic serial The Perils of Pauline (1914), Tomorrow’s Children was produced and released on the States’ Rights market by Bryan Foy. Leading lady Diane Sinclair, reportedly a mulatto hailing from Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana (Suriname), delivered a fine performance.  Comedian Sterling Holloway provided comedy relief to the grim proceedings as a sleepy intern. All but forgotten, Tomorrow’s Children was re-released on video in 1994.Filled with old-fashioned speechmaking and stereotypical characters, the film’s arguments about eugenics prompt audiences to consider what society’s views are today.  What is eugenics?  What are the arguments for and against eugenic practices like sterilization?  How can we tell the difference between “nature” and “nurture”?  Have society’s views about eugenics changed since we have mapped the human genome?  If so, how?  Could prenatal testing be our equivalent of sterilization eugenics?  What does the disability movement have to say about these techniques?The history of eugenics and eugenic thinking in the United States, both historically and in the present, is complex and challenging.  Like many other states, North Carolina had a state Eugenics Board from 1929 until 1977. In 2003, North Carolina became the first state to officially address the state’s role in forced sterilizations, when Governor Easley appointed a Eugenics Study Committee to consider reparations for the nearly 8000 people sterilized by order of the Board.  The expert panel made recommendations later that year.After the movie, Matthew DeCamp will lead a brief discussion on the science and ethics involved in the film.

For more information on North Carolina and eugenics, see:

(1) the Winston Salem Journal’s special report , Against Their Will, athttp://againsttheirwill.journalnow.com/

(2) The eugenics archive at the Library of the State of North Carolina, with documents from the Eugenics Board, at <http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/iss/eugenics/eugenicsinnc.htm>

[Film description adapted from  Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide.]

Though I want to reprint here a pertinent section from “First Biennial Report of The Eugenics Board of North Carolina”:

An effort is made in every case to secure the consent of the next of kin or guardian of the patient by pointing out the advantages of sterilization. The purpose and the advantages of sterilization have been well stated by the Human Betterment Foundation of Pasadena, California, as follows:

1. That sterilization has one effect only — it prevents parenthood.

2. It is not a punishment ; it is a protection ; and therefore carries no stigma or humiliation.

3. It in no way unsexes the party sterilized.

4. Sterilization is approved by the families and friends of the sterilized.

5. It is approved by the medical staffs, probation officers, and social workers generally wherever they have come in contact with these patients.

6. It permits patients to return to their homes and friends who would otherwise be confined to institutions during the fertile period of life.

7. The records show that many moron girls paroled after sterilization have married and are happy and succeeding fairly well. They could never have managed and cared for children, to say nothing of the inheritance and fate of such children.

8. Homes are kept together by sterilization of husband and wife in many mild cases of mental disease, thus removing the dread by the normal spouse of the procreation of a defective child and permitting normal marital companionship.

9. The operation is simple, it removes no organ or tissue of the body. It has no effect on the patient except to prevent parenthood. Under conservative laws, sanely and diplomatically administered, as they have been in California, these discoveries developed by the medical profession now offer to these classes the greatest relief possible and the greatest protection to the defenseless child of the future.

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