“Drugs eat away their will to resist, making conquest that much easier. An excellent military strategy, isn’t it?
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, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Dick Powell Films
- Drug Dealers
- Signe Hasso Films
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
No, unless you’re curious.
One thought on “To the Ends of the Earth (1948)”
First viewing. Not particularly must-see but it’s not a waste of time if you happen to come upon it.
I wouldn’t agree that “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”; I felt rather involved in who the main operators were as people.
The effective documentary approach makes much of the film’s first half a bit of a slow-go – but momentum grows and, from midway, things move along at a good clip. And, yes, the climax is a surprise.