Exploitation auteur Dwain Esper directed this hare-brained expos? on the perils of drug addiction. William Davis (Harry Cording) is a young doctor eager to establish his practice when he makes the mistake of striking up a friendship with wily Asian Gee Wu (J. Stuart Blackton Jr.). Gee Wu introduces William to one of his favorite pastimes, opium, and it isn’t long before William is a hopeless addict. As his habit grows, William’s wife (Joan Dix) becomes increasingly alarmed and persuades him to get medical help. However, quacks foolishly swap William’s opium habit for a prescribed dependence on heroin, leading the hapless medico back where he started. Like most of Esper’s films, The Narcotic was scripted by Hildegarde Stadie, who happened to be Esper’s wife; she supposedly based the story on her uncle’s own unfortunate experience with opiates.
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