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Flowers of Darkness (1972)

This short films traces the history of opium and examines contemporary heroin trade and addiction in the United States.



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Credited cast:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vernon Hann ...
Himself - District Director, Bureau of Customs
Jack Hurst ...
Sherman N. Kieffer ...
Himself - Associate Director for Patient Care, N.I.M.H.
Charles Siragusa ...


In the harsh realities of life on earth, Mother Nature has provided some plants that some use to subdue those harsh realities. One of those plants, which grows wild in most hot temperature countries, is the opium poppy. The use of opium dates as far back as 4,000 B.C. in the Mediterranean region. Cultivation of the plant and its use to produce opium quickly spread south and east, with its use in more recent times being associated with China. Despite the devastating effects of opium, it has been a romanticized substance in much of literature. In the 19th century, German scientists refined the substance into heroin, which is injected directly into the blood stream to the central nervous system for the immediate "hit". Heroin itself is not only lethal in high doses, but is also addictive. Criminal elements, especially French Corsicans, are now dealing illicitly in the substance. Most heroin in its raw form enters the US through the port of New York with a secondary entry point being the ... Written by Huggo

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Documentary | Short





Release Date:

1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Distant Drummer: Flowers of Darkness  »

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User Reviews

Good Look at Heroin
1 December 2012 | by See all my reviews

Distant Drummer: Flowers of Darkness (1972)

*** (out of 4)

Somewhat follow-up to A MOVABLE SCENE, this documentary takes a look at the heroin problems in America. We see how the products starts off, gets into the market and the various way criminals try to import it without getting caught. Paul Newman does the narration and he does a very good job with it. His certainly got a terrific voice so doing the narration adds a bit of class to the film, which is always a good thing. With that said, fans of his certainly aren't the main audience for this picture and it's mainly going to appeal to those who enjoy watching these propaganda films. For the most part I thought the film was well-made and entertaining. It's certainly one of the better examples of the genre as it obviously tells of the damage that the drug does but it also shows us how it's made and we hear about the various ways people sneak it into the country. The documentary claims that 50% of the heroin in this country goes to Harlem and the Bronx and then we get a brief bit on the drug wars in those cities.

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