“It’s too late for me; girls can’t come back.”
A small-town girl (Lois January) who has become hooked on cocaine tries to prevent her brother (Dean Benton) from following in her path.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
Response to Peary’s Review:
Best known as a companion piece to the infamously campy Reefer Madness (1936), this film (as Peary notes) isn’t nearly “as blatantly exploitative or as foolish in its depiction of drug usage and addiction.” Indeed, the highly realistic possibility of naive young people becoming addicted to cocaine (unlike the histrionics over marijuana “addiction” flouted in Reefer) is scary enough to add some genuine tension to the proceedings. As Peary points out, however, Cocaine Fiends is primarily of interest for its “sad view of females in trouble in a cold-hearted, male-dominated world” — indeed, you’ll feel frustrated and dismayed by January’s utter lack of hope for a second chance.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A gritty, relatively realistic view of drug abuse and squalor in the 1930s
No; though it’s “better” than its infamous counterpart, this one is not must see viewing.