Flowers of Darkness: Paul Newman narrates anti-heroin film from 1972
06:32 pm

DM pal Mark MacLachlan passed on this oddment, Distant Drummer: Flowers of Darkness, an anti-drug film from the 1970s, which has a rather interesting pedigree, as Mark explained:

It’s 40 year old documentary on the growth of opium into heroin and how you stop it… It’s narrated by Paul Newman and directed by Glasgow writer Bill Templeton.

Templeton’s centenary is next year and nobody appears to be aware of how important a writer he was, particularly during the golden era of US television, when he penned programmes like Robin Hood, The Untouchables, 1984, Sword of Freedom, The Desilu Hour etcetera.

In his film work he wrote additional dialogue for Graham Greene’s The Fallen Idol directed by Carol Reed. All round a pretty incredible forgotten talent, whom Walt Disney fired after discovering a bottle of whisky at his desk. Inevitably he died back in Glasgow from the booze…

This was Templeton’s last film, and was originally part of a trilogy made for NBC, with Newman, Robert Mitchum and Rod Steiger narrating the different sections. It starts off even-handedly enough (nature has generously provided humanity with the means to get high) but soon falls into an anti-drug stance. However, it does give consideration to treatment and rehabilitation, rather than imprisonment, and contrasts the change in laws from 1956 to 1966. This is one for those with an interest in media and drug culture, or with a liking for quirky public service films.

With thanks to Mark MacLachlan

Posted by Paul Gallagher
06:32 pm