6.2/10
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7 user 8 critic

Death in Small Doses (1957)

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

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Cast

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

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

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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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