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


Overview

User Rating:
3.7/10   187 votes »
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Down 9% 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 »
Plot Keywords:
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:
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:
Boom mic visible: In the close-up of Davies after he forces the man out of his house, the edge of the mike dips into the shot and hovers above his head.See more »
Quotes:
Party Girl:Where'd you get the rags, kiddie? Wearing that, you look like the devil's concubine.
Davies' Date:The doctor put up for this.
Party Girl:Oh, I thought I saw him coming from the ten cent store this afternoon.
Davies' Date:If you'd looked any closer, you'd have seen it was only your reflection in the window.
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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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