IMDb > Narcotic (1933)
Narcotic
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Narcotic (1933) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
3.6/10   180 votes »
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Up 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
A.J. Karnopp (story)
Hildegarde Stadie (screenplay)
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Contact:
View company contact information for Narcotic on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
March 1934 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
One night of bliss... A thousand nights of hell..!
Plot:
As the opening scroll tells us, Narcotic was "presented in the hope that the public may become aware... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
So-so film that's definitely worth watching at least once See more (9 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Harry Cording ... Dr. William G. Davis
Joan Dix ... Mrs. Davies
Patricia Farley ... Mae

Jean Lacy ... 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
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Herman Hack ... Burger (uncredited)
Celia McCann ... Prostitute (uncredited)
Fred Parker ... Policeman (uncredited)
Hildegarde Stadie ... Blonde Waiting Outside Davies' Office (uncredited)
Blackie Whiteford ... Dennison (uncredited)
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Directed by
Dwain Esper 
Vival Sodar't 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
A.J. Karnopp  story
Hildegarde Stadie  screenplay
Hildegarde Stadie  story

Produced by
Dwain Esper .... producer
Hildegarde Stadie .... producer
 

Distributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Narcotic Racket" - USA (reissue title)
"Narcotic!" - USA (promotional title)
"Narcotic: As Interpreted by Dwain Esper" - USA (closing credits title)
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Runtime:
57 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Cameo(Hildegarde Stadie): the film's author appears as an extra, seated in Davies' waiting room.See more »
Goofs:
Boom mic visible: Throughout Davies' confrontation with the man at his wrecked home, the boom mic is unmistakable following them as they move about through the room. The shadow is constantly visible on the wall.See more »
Quotes:
Drug addict:Don't worry. I'm not gonna shoot the main line if I know what I'm doing!See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
So-so film that's definitely worth watching at least once, 26 August 2006
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

Watching Narcotic as a film for its own sake--as an artwork or a piece of entertainment, that is--at this point in time is not entirely satisfactory. For one, it's very choppy. Scenes are missing or truncated oddly, but this is the best print known at the moment. But even if the missing footage were replaced, the film is still uneven. Director Dwain Esper and his wife, writer Hildegarde Stadie, have a bizarre sense of dramatic construction only rivaled by Ed Wood. Esper inserts odd shots for symbolism (such as poisonous snakes, skunks and such near the end), inserts odd intertitles at odd times, and so on. And a lot of the performances intermittently go off the rails. Yet as a historical and sociological oddity, Narcotic is fascinating. Any film buff worth his or her weight in Fassbinder posters should be familiar with it, as should anyone interested in sociology or cultural theory.

I'm not sure if this is the first paranoid anti-drug film, but it must be one of the earlier ones. It beat Esper's similar and more famous Reefer Madness by three years. Additionally, this is much broader in scope than that later film. It's not quite as black and white or ridiculously propagandistic, and it's supposedly based on a true story--a real equivalent to Dr. William G. Davis (played here by Harry Cording), who went on the road hawking "Tiger Fat" (a name only mentioned in intertitles here as far as I could tell), and who was a drug addict stuck in a depressing downward spiral.

The content, which focuses on explicit drug use (including scenes of drug preparation), violence--both accidental and intentional--that remains morally unrectified, serious relationship problems, drug-induced and illicit sexual behavior, and a fantastic, nihilistic ending, may sound like a perfect recipe for a Cheech and Chong film, but in 1933, it was all very challenging. So challenging that the film was rejected twice (once on appeal) by the New York State Film Board. Documentation about this is an interesting special feature on the Kino DVD.

I certainly do not agree with censorship, but the New York State Film Board was astute in some of its criticism of the film. Although viewers could hardly desire ending up like Dr. Davis in the end, many of the scenes are not clearly anti-drug and debauchery. Many scenes seem pro drug and debauchery instead, especially to someone with a hedonistic, libertarian bent, such as myself. They also show basic preparation and administration techniques for drugs.

Although it doesn't seem consistent with their filmographies, Esper and Stadie seem to show pretty explicitly that they're not clearly anti-drug in the comments from "Chinese" character Gee Wu (J. Stuart Blackton, Jr.). Wu presents a pro-opium view early in the film, and through the character, Esper and Stadie suggest that the problem with drugs lies more with cultural differences than in the drugs themselves, even though they seem to backpeddle a bit further into the film.

It's beneficial to keep these kinds of things in mind while watching Narcotic--they'll keep you interested and help stave off Morpheus.

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