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TCM Dope Smuggling that takes us To the End of the Earth, Tonight 10pm (EST)


TomJH
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I noticed that TCM is broadcasting some dope smuggling films tonight. The French Connection is one of them and it remains, in my opinion, one of the best of this hard boiled school of filmmaking.

 

But coming on at 10pm (EST) is 1948's TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH which, for the post-war period in Hollywood, was one of the better attempts at a more realistic, raw kind of filmmaking.

 

Excellently paced and with a story that travels from the U.S. to the Middle East to Egypt to (if memory serves me correctly) Cuba in a Treasury agent's pursuit of opium smugglers, this is a semi-documentary-style hard hitting film of its time. Dick Powell, in the middle of his tough guy film period (having started when he was a memorable Philip Marlowe in the stylish Murder My Sweet) is excellent in this film.

 

Powell proved to be a surprisingly strong performer in a number of noirs and hard boiled thrillers like this, and I must say that To the Ends of the Earth (rarely broadcast on TCM) is one of the best of the series of films of this nature that he made.

 

One more thing, my bet is that most of you WILL NOT see the surprise coming at the end of the film.

 

This little known film ranks a solid three stars out of four, and is highly recommended.

 

111DVD-CC-TO_THE_ENDS_OF_THE_EARTH_FRONT

 

 

 

 

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I noticed that TCM is broadcasting some dope smuggling films tonight. The French Connection is one of them and it remains, in my opinion, one of the best of this hard boiled school of filmmaking.

 

But coming on at 10pm (EST) is 1948's TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH which, for the post-war period in Hollywood, was one of the better attempts at a more realistic, raw kind of filmmaking.

 

Excellently paced and with a story that travels from the U.S. to the Middle East to Egypt to (if memory serves me correctly) Cuba in a Treasury agent's pursuit of opium smugglers, this is a semi-documentary-style hard hitting film of its time. Dick Powell, in the middle of his tough guy film period (having started when he was a memorable Philip Marlowe in the stylish Murder My Sweet) is excellent in this film.

 

Powell proved to be a surprisingly strong performer in a number of noirs and hard boiled thrillers like this, and I must say that To the Ends of the Earth (rarely broadcast on TCM) is one of the best of the series of films of this nature that he made.

 

One more thing, my bet is that most of you WILL NOT see the surprise coming at the end of the film.

 

This little known film ranks a solid three stars out of four, and is highly recommended.

 

111DVD-CC-TO_THE_ENDS_OF_THE_EARTH_FRONT

I am gonna watch just based on your excellent review, Tom.

 

Also I noted that the cast includes John Hoyt, Fritz Leiber and Luis van Rooten so that makes it even more interesting.

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Interesting topic.

 

Outside of what's already been mentioned and anything no more older than five or ten years, I can't think of any "classic" movies that fit this category. 

 

Maybe some might think it's SCARFACE .

 

But then the way Tom worded it, I'm not sure if he's into the film making method  or the subjuect matter more....

 

Sepiatone

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Borderline at 4:15 AM is another good one.  Fred MacMurray, Claire Trevor and Raymond Burr.  More humorous than some, but still pretty good. There is one scene with a group of women singing and dancing.  Be warned the song is annoying!

About smuggling dope from Mexico into US.

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Borderline at 4:15 AM is another good one.  Fred MacMurray, Claire Trevor and Raymond Burr.  More humorous than some, but still pretty good. There is one scene with a group of women singing and dancing.  Be warned the song is annoying!

About smuggling dope from Mexico into US.

Yes, I quite enjoy this movie.  It does not have better than average reviews, but I loved it.  A bit campy, but fun.

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I meant to watch the first film with Victor Mature and Anita Ekberg but I forgot. Was it any good? Hopefully it'll be on again........

I watched it, but not that good.  Barely a 2 star.  For a 90 minute movie had some way too long chase scenes.

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Bump, to make sure that posters are aware of tonight's broadcast.

 

Finally got back to watching my Ends of the Earth recording, and I enjoyed the film very much, thanks for the pointer.  Love the semi-documentary approach.  It looks as if the producers put a great deal of care into showing the details of the smuggling techniques and the various locations around the world.  Must admit I am a Dick Powell fan and this was a good one!

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Glad to see that a few posters watched and enjoyed To the Ends of the Earth.

 

I watched a bit of the film myself again, and took note of the scene in which one of the drug smugglers, after realizing that authorities are closing in upon him,  committed suicide by eating food with bamboo slivers mixed in it. Well, it certainly makes for a memorable and unexpected scene. Call it a death scene with a bamboo touch of the Orient to it. Dick Powell refers to the smuggler as having been a "fanatic" for having done it.

 

But I thought, yikes, bamboo slivers in the stomach? Who decides to kill himself that way? He couldn't think of a less painful way to die other than having small shards of bamboo digging into the walls of his stomach? All those drugs around and not a bottle of sleeping pills, for example?

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Dope and dope trafficking were pretty much taboo topics in Hollywood after The Code.  Pre-code, I'm not too aware of many(or any) movies on the topic.  But that doesn't mean there weren't.

 

POST adoption of The Code, I suppose REEFER MADNESS might squeeze in, althought it's more or less an anti drug precautionary film, which back then, I suppose ANY film dealing with any story of drug trafficking would likely be a morality play about the "evils" of such endeavor. Pre-OR post code. 

 

 

Sepiatone

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The two first excellent dope movies that I can recall as a child in the 1950s was the 1955 movie Man with the Golden Arm starring Frank Sinatra, directed by Otto Preminger.

 

Frank Sinatra starred as a drummer named Frankie Machine,who had the habit. Elmer Bernstein composed the wonderful jazz music that truly excited people at the time. And I think Kim Novak was the girl who tried to help Frankie.

It got several Oscar nominations.

 

A movie that I saw more frequently from 1957 was A Hatful of Rain starring Don Murray. It was directed by Fred Zinnemann and also had an Oscar nomination.

 

The highest-profile Hollywood approved movie on dope addiction was the 1962 Long Day's Journey Into Night, based on the Eugene O'Neill play. This movie got the most publicity because it starred Katharine Hepburn, who was also nominated for the Oscar in her role as a morphine addicted wife and mother.

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Dope and dope trafficking were pretty much taboo topics in Hollywood after The Code. Pre-code, I'm not too aware of many(or any) movies on the topic. But that doesn't mean there weren't.

 

POST adoption of The Code, I suppose REEFER MADNESS might squeeze in, althought it's more or less an anti drug precautionary film, which back then, I suppose ANY film dealing with any story of drug trafficking would likely be a morality play about the "evils" of such endeavor. Pre-OR post code.

 

 

Sepiatone

 

When you study the history of Motion Pictures the name Wallace Reid stands out. Next to Valentino and Gilbert, Reid was probably the most popular leading man of the silents.

 

Reid was referred to as "the screen's most perfect lover", several years before Valentino came on the scene.

 

In 1919 Wallace Reid suffered a scalp injury in a train wreck on the way to a film location. To continue shooting, a doctor gave him morphine, which resulted in morphine addiction.

 

Wallace Reid succumbed to the morphine addiction in 1923. His widow, actress Dorothy Davenport decided to bravely expose what had happened to her husband and to warn the public about drug addiction.

 

In 1923 she starred and co-produced a film called Human Wreckage - - that showed the danger of morphine addiction.

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Frank Sinatra often said later in his career  that he believed his performance in The Man With the Golden Arm where he lost the Oscar for Best Actor was even better than his role as Maggie where he was best Supporting Actor for From Here to Eternity.

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