Devil's Needle (1916)

Genres - Drama  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Janiss Garza

At the time of this picture's release, the market was glutted with pictures detailing the evils of drug abuse. But character actor Tully Marshall (here in a borderline leading man role) had recently made a splash as a dope fiend in a play called The City; perhaps this picture was made to give him a chance to do it again. Artist David White (Marshall) has a model, Rene (Norma Talmadge), who is a drug addict. He falls for Wynne Mortimer (Marguerite Marsh), the daughter of a wealthy man (F.A. Turner). But Wynne is engaged to Hugh Gordon, her father's priggish right-hand man (Howard Gaye). To ease White's hurt, Rene offers him some of her drugs. At first he refuses, but he sneaks a taste and soon becomes hooked. He wins Wynne anyhow, and they are married. But after a year, White's addiction has turned him into a crazed animal. To save his wife from any more suffering, he leaves and goes to Rene, who he discovers has quit her habit. Finally, the janitor (John Brennan) at his studio takes him out to the country to stay with an old couple. White works on their farm and is cured (although, judging from this film's reviews, even in the 1910s people knew hard labor was an unlikely way to cure drug addiction). Back home his wife searches for him and is attacked by gangsters. White comes home just in time for her rescue, and Rene, who has loved him this whole time, tearfully reunites the couple.