To the Ends of the Earth (1948)

To the Ends of the Earth (1948)

“Drugs eat away their will to resist, making conquest that much easier. An excellent military strategy, isn’t it?

Synopsis:
A U.S. Narcotics Agent (Dick Powell) assigned to locate a ship smuggling drugs is shocked when he spies a freighter throwing dozens of chained laborers overboard. He vows to follow the drug dealers “to the ends of the Earth”, which involves travelling to Shanghai, Egypt, and Cuba, and meeting a mysterious nanny (Signe Hasso) and her ward (Maylia) along the way.

Genres:

Review:
This documentary-style narcotics trafficking adventure was bold and unusual for its time, given how openly illegal drugs are addressed (we learn how heroin is made, step by step!!). Unfortunately, the first-person narrative-heavy plot is so focused on providing insider details about how global stings operate that we fail to connect to the ostensible protagonists — who, indeed, are merely players in a much bigger scheme. With that said, I was duly impressed by the lengths to which narcos will go to protect their wares — and I’ll admit the final plot twist took me by surprise. This one remains a curio, but not must-see viewing.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric cinematography
  • Impressive location shooting around the globe

Must See?
No, unless you’re curious.

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