director Sam Newfield
She Shoulda Said No! but I guess it’s good she didn’t because otherwise we wouldn’t have this movie.
I kid, I kid, but in reality, star Lila Leeds was busted for MJ with Bob Mitchum in September 1948. The 20 year old starlet’s career was strangled by the scandal, while Mitchum managed to shrug it off and carry on being a big time star. Leeds hadn’t maybe had her breakout role yet, but outside of this Exploitation penance flick, she also never got a chance. And it’s a shame. She’s definitely got that certain something that could have made a star.
She Shoulda Said No! is a more polished and professional morality tale Exploitation than others of its ilk, maybe because of the notoriety of Leeds. It also features notable actors like Lyle Talbot and a young Jack Elam.
Not as sleazy or silly as some other marijuana scare flicks, I did like the kinda 21 Jump Street of its day thing, when a cop going undercover at a soda joint notes in voiceover: “I went home and dig out my old schoolbooks, loaded up my pockets with nickels for the jukebox and brushed up on my jive talk.”
The best sequence is Leeds in jail, initially unrepentant, eventually crumbling under those 60 days behind bars, and the guilt of her brother’s suicide. It’s a testament to the shame how something so petty ruined Leeds’ career, though such drug busts have been much worse for such petty shit on many other people by comparison.