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 »
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
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 »
When Davies is persuading his wife that his plan will work, the boom shadow falls the wall behind them. Also, the mike dips briefly into the shot and, and the camera moves forward, the shadow of the accordion-style apparatus used to hoist the mike is also visible, almost distractingly so, on the wall, right behind the wife. See more »
Say, Lena, you usually take speed, don't you?
You can shoot me up I don't... with a needle.
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NARCOTIC (Dwain Esper and Vival Sod'art, 1933) BOMB
Of the various low-budget exploitationers of the 1930s, I was only familiar with the similarly drug-related TELL YOUR CHILDREN (1938), better-known by its alternate title REEFER MADNESS actually produced by Dwain Esper, the co-director of this one and a film-maker whose notorious reputation (for lack of talent) rivals that of Ed Wood himself! Here, then, we ostensibly have the case history (cue exhaustive exposition in the form of title cards) of a doctor who indulged in various types of drugs, starting out with opium (suggested by the stereotypical wise-yet-evil Chinese) but soon progressing to heroin all of which ends with him losing everything (living in a two-bit dive and eventually turning a gun on himself!). While I was expecting horrific hallucinations or (unintentionally hilarious) hyperbolic reactions resulting from the intake of drugs, all one got is an excess of dull talk which quickly exasperated this viewer long before the film's brief 57 minutes were up! Still, there were at least three scenes which have to be seen to be believed: a chauffeur popping pills while driving gets his car smashed by an oncoming train; the lengthy "drug party" itself with the participants freely sniffing coke and injecting heroin while dancing and bickering amongst themselves; and a completely irrelevant bit (obviously stock footage) of a couple of snakes fighting capped by the victor literally swallowing up the defeated reptile!
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