Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

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ssreverb

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Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 4:23 pm

I'm working on a project that looks at how drugs have been portrayed throughout the history of film. For the silent films, I was wondering if we could start a list of films that either tackle substance abuse and drug addiction, or mention drugs (even if it is briefly!). I've started a list below, please help me add to this.... Thanks!

Chinese Opium Den (1894) (presumed lost) - opium
Pillole portentose (1910) - pep pills
Bigorno fume l'opium (1914) - opium
Devil's Needle, The (1916) - drug addiction
Mystery of the Leaping Fish, The (1916) - smorgasbord
Easy Street (1917) - drug addict/needle
Playmates (1918) - drug addict/cocaine powder
Human Wreckage (1923) (presumed lost) - morphine/drug addiction
Pace That Kills, The (1928) - cocaine/drug addiction
Modern Times (1936) - cocaine
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 5:16 pm

D.W. Griffith's Biograph short For His Son (1912) is all about addiction. It's readily available, and amazing. The plot concerns a soft drink laced with cocaine.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 5:52 pm

brings a whole new meaning to Coca-Cola*

*yes i know coke did have cocaine in it (just a little from what i have read) back when it first came out.
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Rodney

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 8:07 pm

You get opium den scenes in several films: The Whispering Chorus and Barrymore's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde come immediately to mind. For comedies, there's an opium sequence in The Detectress, and a fake opium den in Paths to Paradise. In The Penalty, one of Chaney's underlings is a doper, and gets a syringe as payment for murdering a woman. I remember a drug theme to the opening of The Love of Jeanne Ney, but can't remember details just now. Creepy actor, though.
Last edited by Rodney on Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:59 am, edited 3 times in total.
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greta de groat

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 8:29 pm

Another Norma Talmadge film, The Woman Gives (1920) involves her rescuing John Halliday from an opium den. If we are doing alcoholism too, she's trying to dry out hubby Eugene O'Brien in The Only Woman (1924). LOC has both of these.

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missdupont

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 9:02 pm

There's plenty of alcoholism in Griffith's Biograph shorts. Harold Lloyd pulls a syringe out of his pocket and injects a flat tire which suddenly perks up happily in GET OUT AND GET UNDER I believe. There's a nightclub scene where people do drugs in either Feuillade's LES VAMPIRES or JUDEX.
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Scoundrel

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 9:16 pm

Porter's DREAM OF A RAREBIT FIEND (1906)
J. Stuart Blackton's PRINCESS NICOTINE OR THE SMOKE FAIRY (1909)

Ann Dvorak in THREE ON A MATCH (1932)
Arthur Edmund Carewe in MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM (1933)

Dwain Esper's NARCOTIC (1933)
REEFER MADNESS (1936)
MARIHUANA (1938)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBMJkFWbJps
Last edited by Scoundrel on Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Rodney

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 9:38 pm

missdupont wrote:There's plenty of alcoholism in Griffith's Biograph shorts. Harold Lloyd pulls a syringe out of his pocket and injects a flat tire which suddenly perks up happily in GET OUT AND GET UNDER I believe. There's a nightclub scene where people do drugs in either Feuillade's LES VAMPIRES or JUDEX.


Don't remember any drugs in Les Vampires (though there are several night clubs), so I'd look at Judex.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 10:09 pm

Harold Lloyd swipes the syringe from the pocket of a heroin addict, then injects it into his car engine to make it start in GET OUT AND GET UNDER.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostMon Feb 18, 2013 11:20 pm

Broken Blossoms (1919) - opium use

Excellent posts so far! Keep 'em coming...
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 12:09 am

Robert Reinert's OPIUM made in Germany in 1919.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 5:40 am

Theres JEWELL ROBBERY 1933 and MURDER AT THE VANITIES 1934 that present the use of Marijuana in a humorous and fun way that Cheech and Chong might have done.
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Changsham

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 5:48 am

And I forgot FOOTLIGHT PARADE 1933. The Shanghai Lil musical finale shows an opium den with Busby Berkely beauties chasing the dragon with Chinese warlord types.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 11:34 am

In 1916's PUBLIC OPINION Raymond Hatton plays a cocaine addict who is blackmailing the villain , a physician, for drugs. In the 1920 DARK MIRROR one of the gang members is called Charlie the Coke.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 12:26 pm

Image
So does this photo, of Irene Fenwick in Coney Island Princess (1916) show the "Turkish" man smoking opium or just a regular pipe?
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 12:33 pm

I thought of the two Chaplin examples too, but I see they're already listed.

I came across an interesting, bizarre story that touches on portrayals of opium use in Collector's Weekly, of all things - it's at http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/journey-into-the-opium-underworld/. In regards to the Coney Island photo, I'd say the exotic bed and weird looking pipe would have been enough to spell out 'opium den' to an audience of the time.
Last edited by Brooksie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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greta de groat

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 12:34 pm

Boris Karloff plays a cocaine addict in Her Honor The Governor (1926, at LOC)

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 12:37 pm

Leslie Fenton plays Clara Bow's coke-head brother in KICK IN (1931).


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Changsham

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostTue Feb 19, 2013 2:37 pm

silentfilm wrote:Image
So does this photo, of Irene Fenwick in Coney Island Princess (1916) show the "Turkish" man smoking opium or just a regular pipe?


This is called a shisha pipe. Mostly used for smoking flavoured tobacco but could be used for opium or marijuana. The beauty lounging on the bed hints it may be opium. Tried one myself at one of the local shisha bars. Where I live smoking is illeagi in bars or clubs. However Shisha bars are exempted.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostWed Feb 20, 2013 3:46 pm

I know you said silents, but Stan nods out through the last half of County Hospital (1932) after an unintentional "fix".
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ssreverb

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostWed Feb 20, 2013 6:43 pm

Yes, let's not limit this to silent films. There have been several sound films mentioned that I didn't know about.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostWed Feb 20, 2013 7:02 pm

ssreverb wrote:Yes, let's not limit this to silent films. There have been several sound films mentioned that I didn't know about.


Jewel Robbery (1932) starring William Powell and Kay Francis, features a running gag that involves jewel thief Powell handing out marijuana cigarettes -- although they're never identified as such -- to make his victims passive and goofy. It looks like the people who made this film actually knew something about the effects of cannabis on those who ingest it.

P.S. Oops, I just noticed that this film was mentioned already. Well, what the heck, it's fun to talk about!
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostWed Feb 20, 2013 10:03 pm

Dr. Ranger in Night Nurse (1931), played by Ralf Harolde, is obviously addicted to something; he has the shakes, and his nose twitches like crazy. And of course there's Cab Calloway's ever popular "Reefer Man" number in International House (1933), where the bass player looks as high as a kite, and is said to be "sailing." In a similar but somewhat less blatant number, "Kickin' the Gong Around" in The Big Broadcast (1932), Cab pantomimes snorting something off the back of his hand, then gets the shakes as bad as Dr. Ranger.
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Changsham

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostWed Feb 20, 2013 10:48 pm

Not as old but in Rosselini's ROME OPEN CITY 1945 the main resistence protagonists are betrayed to the Gestapo by the girlfriend of one of them. She is a cocaine addict and trades information for cocaine supplied by the Gestapo.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostThu Feb 21, 2013 1:44 am

There's some "funny cigarette" stuff in NIGHT OF TERROR [1933] with Mr. Lugosi.
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ssreverb

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostFri Feb 22, 2013 5:33 am

One film I'd like to find is The Dividened (1916) - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0006596/

Anyone know if it is available?
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Wm. Charles Morrow

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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostSat Feb 23, 2013 9:24 am

ssreverb wrote:One film I'd like to find is The Dividened (1916) - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0006596/" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

Anyone know if it is available?


I can't tell you if any prints survive, but when I looked up The Dividend yesterday in the FIAF database there were no hits under that title, nor was it listed with the surviving films of director Thomas Ince or star Charles Ray.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostSat Feb 23, 2013 9:55 am

Heroes For Sale (1933) remains a personal favorite--WWI hero Dick Barthelmess + morphine addiction = 60 minute roller coaster into the Great Depression.
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostSat Feb 23, 2013 11:43 am

THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955)
NAKED LUNCH (1991)
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Re: Films about Drugs or Substance Abuse

PostSat Feb 23, 2013 9:02 pm

Larry Semon's THE FLY COP (1920) has a scene where Larry gets an accidental whiff of some addict's Peruvian joy powder, and - in contrast to his usual lightning speed - slows wayyyy down, courtesy of some serious OVER-cranking.

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