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Death in Small Doses (1957)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 75 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 5 critic

A government agent investigates the use of illegal amphetamines among long-haul truck drivers.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Agent / Tom Kaylor
...
Valerie 'Val' Owens
...
Mink Reynolds
Robert Williams ...
'Dunc' Clayton
Roy Engel ...
Wally Morse
Merry Anders ...
Amy 'Miss Diesel of 1958' Phillips
Harry Lauter ...
Steve Hummel / Mr. Brown
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Storyline

A government agent investigates the use of illegal amphetamines among long-haul truck drivers.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...the picture that crosses the forbidden territory...of THRILL PILLS!

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Crime | Drama | Thriller

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Release Date:

15 September 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Död i små doser  »

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(Westrex Recording System)
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User Reviews

 
An Unusual Topic for Its Time
9 March 2012 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Truckers depend on illegal amphetamines to stay awake over long distances, causing a number of road accidents. So the government assigns an undercover agent to expose the criminal connections.

I expect this film amounts to an offspring of 1955's Man With a Golden Arm, the first post-war film to deal seriously with drug addiction. More directly is 1956's Bigger Than Life that dramatizes the maddening effects of a new prescription drug on an over-worked schoolteacher (James Mason). Up to 1955, drug addiction was pretty much taboo among non-exploitation filmmakers. So this minor oddity was dealing with an unusual topic not conventionally seen on the screen. (As a teen seeing the movie on initial release, I recall being puzzled by the topic).

The movie itself is standard Hollywood expose—the clean-cut gov't agent (Graves), the nefarious criminal ring, a mysterious headman, plus a winsome romantic interest (Powers). Still, the director is Joe Newman who could occasionally rise above the potboiler as I think he does here with some effective touches. Note the well-played surprise twist, along with pill-popping Chuck Connors, a really long way from his sober-sided role in The Rifleman. In fact, I wouldn't have believed Connors' giddy performance if I hadn't seen it.

Thanks to the several twists, unusual subject matter, and the manic Connors, the movie remains an oddly memorable potboiler, despite the lowly origins.


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