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Narcotic (1933)

 -  Biography | Drama  -  March 1934 (USA)
3.7
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Ratings: 3.7/10 from 199 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 5 critic

As the opening scroll tells us, Narcotic was "presented in the hope that the public may become aware of the terrific struggle to rid the world of drug addiction." The movie itself is a ... See full summary »

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(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Narcotic (1933)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Harry Cording ...
Joan Dix ...
Patricia Farley ...
Mae
...
Lena (as Jean Lacey)
J. Stuart Blackton Jr. ...
Gee Wu
Paul Panzer ...
Cashier
Miami Alvarez ...
Drug addict
Charles Bennett ...
Hand wrestler
Josef Swickard ...
Federal narcotics agent
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Storyline

As the opening scroll tells us, Narcotic was "presented in the hope that the public may become aware of the terrific struggle to rid the world of drug addiction." The movie itself is a salacious plunge into a world of sordid pleasures. It tells us the story of Dr. William G. Davies, an infamous snake-oil salesman who started his career as a promising medical student. In the opening sequence he saves an unborn baby by performing a cesarean operation after the mother was killed in an automobile accident. Stock medical footage shows a woman's stomach being sliced open like a ripe watermelon and the baby popping out like a jack-in-a-box. But the allure of opium proves too strong for the doctor to resist. After a single night of relaxation in a Chinatown opium den, Davies becomes a slave to drugs. As his medical practice deteriorates, he shifts his attention to "selling medicine by demonstration." He says to his nurse/fiancee, "I can't see anything wrong if my preparation has merit." ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One night of bliss... A thousand nights of hell..!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

March 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Narcotic Racket  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$8,900 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer Hildegarde Stadie based the script on true events. She had gone on tour with a great uncle as a little girl when he worked the medicine show circuit selling the elixir Tiger Fat. The film is actually considered to be a very accurate and unexaggerated retelling of his life. See more »

Goofs

Lena supposedly snorts cocaine at the party, but the cocaine is still on the small spoon she uses after she has "snorted" it. See more »

Quotes

Drug addict: Say, Lena, you usually take speed, don't you?
Lena: You can shoot me up I don't... with a needle.
See more »

Connections

Featured in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
There are few films like it
31 January 2004 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Dwain Esper produced this film in 1933 or 34, using a script

written by his wife, Hildegarde Stadie. Hildegarde had baised it on

the life of a sort-of great uncle of hers, Dr. William Davies, a drug

addict and peddler of the cure-all "Tiger Fat." Her dialoge is

actually pretty good for an exploitation film, yet the actors go

through it too fast for it to register with the viewer.

Narcotic is a really unique movie. For an exploitation film, it treats

the subject matter with unheared of sincerity. Rather than showing

teenagers as victims, this movie depicts adults, and follows one in

particular, William Davies, though a good thirty years of his life. In

other features like The Pace that Kills (1935), characters duck out

of frame when they go to snort drugs. In a long party scene, a

number of differant characters snort crack on camra (probably

really sugar or something, but oh well), and there's even a painful

close-up of a needle going into a vein to mainline.

One also has to marvel at the production values. There's a number

of complex shots throughout the movie, looking down from high

angles at characters, looking straight up from the ground, looking

into a room though the back of a blazing fire place. Scenes are

shot from all differant angles and most use some sort of stock

footage that doesn't match with the action. Nothing is seemless,

and it's really hard to loose yourself in it. Yet that's the mark of

Esper. Clearly he, or Vival Sodar't, was just directing under

impulse, without worrying whether or not it would cut together

smoothly.

Concerning the stock footage, one scene that really stands out is a

scene where a car collides head-first with a train. It was obviously

shot in the early twenties (you can tell by the women's clothes) and

was probably taken from another drug film: 1923's Human

Wreckage. If this is the case, than it would be the only footage that

survives from that film.

All-in-all, Narcotic is an interesting slice of drug life in the thirties.


4 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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