Hop, the Devil's Brew was another deft blend of social commentary and entertainment from the husband-and-wife directorial team of Phillips Smalley and Lois Weber. Made with full cooperation of the U.S. Customs Bureau, the story is a case study of how opium is harvested in the Orient then smuggled and distributed to America. Putting a face on the scourge of narcotics is the plight of Lydia Jensen (Weber), the wife of customs agent Ward Jensen (Smalley). While Jensen is out trying to smash a vicious dope ring, poor Lydia becomes an opium addict. The grueling final reels depict Jensen trying to wean his wife off the killer drug, a chillingly graphic sequence which was every bit as powerful as the more celebrated denouement of Otto Preminger's 1955 opus The Man with the Golden Arm.
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