A detective investigating the murder of a heroin addict discovers that there is a connection between the junkie and his fiance, who is his boss' daughter.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kathy Carlyle ...
Laura
...
Felice Orlandi ...
The Pusher
Douglas Rodgers ...
Lt. Peter Byrne
Sloan Simpson ...
Harriet Byrne
Sara Amman ...
María Hernández
Jim Boles ...
Newspaper Vendor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Detective
Eli Boraks ...
Gang member / dancer
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Storyline

A detective investigating the murder of a heroin addict discovers that there is a connection between the junkie and his fiance, who is his boss' daughter.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

drugs | based on novel | See All (2) »

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"Here's some news for you, cop...Your daughter's mixed up in this!" See more »

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Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

February 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La garra del vicio  »

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Trivia

Film debut of John Astin. See more »

Connections

Featured in Classroom Scare Films Vol. 5: More Drug Evils (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dreary drug-themed melodrama with good locations
23 July 2007 | by (Montreal) – See all my reviews

This low-budget, independent picture's most significant point of interest is its writing pedigree -- it's based on a novel by hard-boiled favorite Ed McBain, with a screenplay by the best-selling novelist Harold Robbins. This contributes to a very schizophrenic result. The influence of the former is obvious in the police procedural framework, with some interesting shot-on-location scenes in Spanish Harlem and other NYC locales. The latter's heavy hand is apparent in the overblown melodramatic scenes which especially mar the last couple of reels.

The story concerns a police detective who, while investigating the apparent suicide of a young Puerto Rican heroin addict, discovers that his middle-class daughter is involved in the same underworld. The parallels/contrasts between the white-bread girl and the poverty stricken ethnic types gives this exposé its main social significance -- presaging similar scenes in much more accomplished films like "Traffic". But of course, the good-girl-gone-bad scenario was a staple of old-time exploitation pix way back in the days of silent movies and Dwain Esper.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers, though competent enough for the most part, really have no sense of style or tension, and the film just staggers monotonously from sequence to sequence. It only comes to life during the scenes with a feisty Latin cabaret dancer (the boy's sister), and in the character of the slick pusher who lures the girls into a life of addiction and takes advantage of them in his Playboy-style bachelor pad. Though the subject matter was probably sensational at the time, most modern viewers will find the dramatic scenes clichéd and unsubtle, and the action scenes clumsy. The jazzed-up version of "Billy Boy" that reverberates on the soundtrack is a futile attempt at hipness.

The director was a top-notch Hollywood editor, but this was his only session at the helm of a movie. Watch for some absurdly intense, method-style emoting by the young actors playing gang members.


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