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For His Son (1912)

 |  Short, Drama  |  22 January 1912 (USA)
6.5
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A father, anxious for his son's financial well being, develops a special soda pop called Dopokoke which is laced with cocaine. Dopokoke is advertised as relief "for that tired feeling." The... See full summary »

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Stars: Blanche Sweet, Madge Kirby, Charles Hill Mailes
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Cast

Cast overview:
Charles Hill Mailes ...
The Father, a Physician
Charles West ...
The Son
...
The Son's Fiancée
Dorothy Bernard ...
The Secretary
Alfred Paget ...
Office Clerk
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Storyline

A father, anxious for his son's financial well being, develops a special soda pop called Dopokoke which is laced with cocaine. Dopokoke is advertised as relief "for that tired feeling." The drink is a success, but the son becomes addicted to it, much to his father's regret. Loosely based on the allegations that the Coca-Cola company and other soft drink manufacturers laced their soda with dope. Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

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Short | Drama

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Release Date:

22 January 1912 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pour son fils  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
The REEFER MADNESS of its day.
10 May 2005 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

An exploitation film from D.W. Griffith? Yes, and it's good too! He spoke out against society's shortcomings with movies like A CORNER IN WHEAT (1909), WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH OUR OLD? (1911) and ONE IS BUSINESS, THE OTHER CRIME (1912) but with the film I am here to-night to talk about he tackles drug addiction and corporate greed at the same time in a movie which dramatically illustrates how good intentions can go horribly wrong.

Okay it is common knowledge now that back in "The Olde Days" Coca-Cola really did have cocaine in it. People would belly up to the soda fountain, put down a nickel and say "Gimme a shot in the arm." In fact before it was declared illegal you could buy cocaine over the counter at almost any pharmacy. A dime bought you 1 snort and a quarter got you 3!

In our film Charles Hill Mailes plays a respectable doctor and a devoted father, Charles West is his son. Dad is a competent physician but far from rich and sonny boy is always after him for pocket money. In the real world dad would say "Get a job!" to his lazy kid but hey, this is an exploitation movie and Mr. Griffith has a point to make. So his son will never lack for things dad invents a new soft drink with cocaine added to give people an added boost of energy. His calls his new concoction . . . no not Coca-Cola, that name was already taken; he calls it "Dopokoke". Quicker than you can say "snowbird" his drink is a success and he is rolling in money. Unfortunately one of his best customers is his own son and soon the debilitating effects of the coke on his system begin to show. The boy's fiancée (17 year old Blanche Sweet, a Griffith regular) gives him back his ring but in less than a minute he romancing his dad's secretary!

Dad is blind, or worse yet, uncaring to what is happening to the people who buy his product, concerned only with his newfound wealth. In one scene he walks right into the camera smiling maniacally and clenching his fists as if he is taunting the movie audience with how rich and powerful he has become. In opposition to this Griffith also shows us the ravaged victims of people who now cannot do without the drink. Meanwhile day by day his son is turning more and more into a wasted shell of his former healthy, happy self. Will the devoted but misguided father learn his lesson? What will become of his son? Will there be a happy ending? I wouldn't bet on it if I were you!

The era of the scare exploitation film was still in the future and in the late 20 and early 30's we would get movies like THE PACE THAT KILLS (1928), NARCOTIC (1932), COCAINE FIENDS (1935), REEFER MADNESS (1936) and so on. D.W. Griffith got there first though and this film is still as effective and dramatic to-day as it was then.

One of the customers in the soda fountain scene is future movie director Christy Cabanne. He would go on to direct things like the old-dark-house thriller ONE FRIGHTENED NIGHT (1934) and THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940) and many others.


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