Confessions of an Opium Eater
Souls for Sale
Albert Zugsmith for Photoplay/Allied Artists
directed by Albert Zugsmith
starring Vincent Price, Linda Ho, Richard Loo, June Kim (= June Kyoto Lu), Philip Ahn, Yvonne Moray, Caroline Kido, Terence de Marney, Geri Hoo, Gerald Jann, Vivianne Manku, Miel Saan, Joanne Miya, John Mamo (= John Fujioka), Keiko, Victor Sen Yung, Ralph Ahn, Arthur Wong, Alicia Li, Vincent Barbi, William Baskin, David Chow, Roy Jenson, Angelo Rossitto, Carol Russell
screenplay by Robert Hill, based on Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey, music by Albert Glasser
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Drifter Gilbert De Quincey (Vincent Price) travels from China to
Chinatown, San Francisco, to accept an assignment from Tong boss Lin Tung.
Once there, it turns out that Lin Tung hasn't been seen by anyone in
years, but still seems the most powerful figure of Chinatown, especially
when it comes to trading women for opium. But lately quite a few
competitors tried to muscle their way into his business - so he has his
right hand, dragonlady Ruby Low (Linda Ho) give De Quincey the names of
those he wants executed. De Quincey's mind might be addled from opium
already, but even he can't help but notice there's more to Ruby Low than
meets the eye and she seems to have an agenda all of her own.
is a weird and spooky place where De Quincey is hounded by both tong
assassins and dragon kites ... but somehow he finds a way into Lin Tung's
den, saves one of his slave girls from being killed, loses her again, but
finds a midget woman who might be a bit on the insane side, but she
becomes his trusted sidekick nevertheless (and De Quincey will never
regret it). Chases through the Cinatown sewage system bring him back
together with Ruby Low, get him caged, and let him become part of a slave
auction, where he finally comes face to face with Lin Tung ... who turns
out to be Ruby Low in disguise.
De Quincey manages to sabotage the slave
auction and save his girl, and his midget sidekick dies a heroine's death
protecting them. But whatever became of Lin Tung's whole operation? And
could everything have been a drug-induced nightmare after all.
enjoyably weird movie, that, made on a low budget, creates its very own
version of Chinatown that might not be wholly realistic but all the more
atmospheric, that doesn't always follow logic as we know it but at times
feels like a drug trip gone bad. And at the same time, the film feeds
richly on mainstays of pulps from earlier decades, from its depiction of
the tong as such to its many hidden panels and secret passageways, women
in cages and exotic dances. Oh, and then there's of course Vincent Price
in the lead, on one of his less than hammy days but still owning every
scene he's in.
Well, basically: Fun!