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Death in Small Doses (1957)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 15 September 1957 (USA)
A government agent investigates the use of illegal amphetamines among long-haul truck drivers.


Joseph M. Newman


Arthur L. Davis (article), John McGreevey




Complete credited cast:
Peter Graves ... Tom Kaylor
Mala Powers ... Val Owens
Chuck Connors ... Mink Reynolds
Merry Anders ... Amy Phillips
Roy Engel ... Wally Morse
Robert B. Williams ... Dunc Clayton (as Robert Williams)
Harry Lauter ... Steve Hummel
Pete Kooy Pete Kooy ... Payson
Robert Christopher Robert Christopher ... Lennie Owens


In Washington D.C., the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is concerned with the increasing number of reports about the use of illegal amphetamines among long-haul truck drivers. Such pills, known as 'bennys' or 'co-pilots' provide truck drivers with uncommon energy and stave-off sleep during the long trips. However, many truckers abuse the drug, becoming dependent on it to stay awake. Long-term use causes hallucinations for the user and this translates into frequent deadly truck crashes. The F.D.A. sends undercover investigator Tom Kayler to Los Angeles to find out the source of such illegal amphetamines in the L.A. area. Kayler pretends to be a long-haul novice driver and is employed by local freight company Bodmer Freight Lines. He finds room and board inside the house of young attractive widow Val Owens. Several other long-haul truck drivers also board at Ms. Owens' home. One of them is Kayler's co-worker, hipster Mink Reynolds. Kayler begins his undercover investigation to find ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...the picture that crosses the forbidden territory...of THRILL PILLS!


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The many references throughout the movie to " Bennie" of course refer to Benzedrine. This amphetamine first registered in 1933 and use for a number of ailments ranging from narcolepsy to obesity and attention deficit disorder,soon grew very popular.It was used or rather abused by servicemen during world war 2, housewives during the 40's and 50's and of course,long haul truck drivers.It was not until 1959 (and maybe as a direct result of this movie),it's use was finally regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1959.I is now a schedule 2 or class B controlled drug used only for certain medical conditions. See more »


The close up of the truck cabs is obviously not the same as the front panned out view of the truck cabs. See more »


Tom Kaylor: Men who know you, Val, all end up as bad insurance risks.
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User Reviews

Chuck Conners is a master thespian in this flick...NOT!!!
19 February 2018 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

A federal agent, Tom Kaylor (Peter Graves) is posing as a long-haul truck driver because of the damage being done by truck drivers using amphetamines in order to work their exhausting hours. The only really obvious lead is a trucker named 'Mink' (Chuck Connors), a guy who very obviously uses pills because he's perennially giddy and the acting is WAY over the top! But Mink won't talk and so Tom needs to keep his eyes open and be very, very careful because whoever is supplying the junk is more than willing to kill to keep this secret...and they soon end up beating Tom's co-driver to death because he asked too many questions!

While occasionally the film is obvious and anything but subtle, it is entertaining and does provide a public service. I just wish they'd made Mink semi-realistic and explained that most Amphetamine users do NOT have hallucinations or end up in the Psyc Ward! It's not nearly as silly as films like "Reefer Madness" but if should have been a tad less goofy. It's really a shame, as the topic is an important one AND most of the movie was very good. Still, overall it is never dull and certainly is entertaining!!

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Release Date:

15 September 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Death in Small Doses See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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