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The Pace That Kills (1935)

PG | | Crime, Drama | December 1935 (USA)
Drug dealer on the run from the law meets an innocent young girl and her brother, and turns them into "cocaine fiends."


William A. O'Connor (as Wm. A. O'Connor)


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Complete credited cast:
Lois January ... Jane Bradford aka Lil
Noel Madison ... Nick - The Pusher
Sheila Bromley ... Fanny (as Sheila Manners)
Dean Benton Dean Benton ... Eddie Bradford
Lois Lindsay ... Dorothy Farley
Charles Delaney ... Dan - the Detective - Dorothy's Boyfriend (as Chas. Delaney)
Eddie Phillips ... Manager of Dead Rat Club
Frank Shannon ... Mr. Farley
Fay Holden ... Madame / Henchwoman (as Gaby Fay)
Maury Peck Maury Peck ... Master of Ceremonies
Nona Lee Nona Lee ... Band Vocalist
Gay Sheridan Gay Sheridan ... Dorothy's Friend
Frank Collins Frank Collins ... Singing Waiter


Small town girl Jane Bradford falls for Nick, a guy from the big city who offers her the opportunity to get away from her small town life. He also offers her "headache powder", she not knowing that it's cocaine and that Nick is a drug pusher. By the time they get to the city, she's hooked on her new medicine. Jane's brother, Eddie, goes to the city to look for his sister, who has not kept in touch with her family. Eddie gets a job as a carhop at a drive-in and is befriended by a drive-in's waitress named Fanny. Fanny is one of Nick's customers, and Fanny soon gets Eddie hooked on the headache powder. Due to this vice, Eddie and Fanny's life soon goes downhill. They're both fired from their jobs and are unable to find other work in their drugged out state. On the periphery of both Eddie and Jane's life is Dorothy Farley, a customer at the drive-in. Dorothy, dating Dan, comes from a wealthy family and she throws her money around easily. She's willing to assist financially those in need.... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime! Suicide! Prostitution! See more »


Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cocaine Fiends See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The nightclub bill for the cover charge, six drinks and the tax (at only 3%) comes to $9.79. That would equate to $172.25 in 2016. See more »


Even though the original title was "The Cocaine Fiends" , and cocaine is the main plot point, no one is ever actually shown doing the drug on screen (every time someone goes for a line, the film cuts to a shot of the dealer watching with glee that he has a new customer/victim). See more »


Fanny: Tonight I'm gonna take you on a sleigh ride with some snow birds.
Eddie: Sleigh ride? Snow birds? In summer?
Fanny: Gee, you ARE dumb!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening statement: Among the many evils against which society struggles, one of the most vicious is the traffic in dope . . in every community where the menace developes all the forces which society can mobilize, including social agencies, doctors, law enforcement officials and government band together to stamp it out . . . . . . Without such activity the dope evil would run rampant. Yet it has long been recognized that one other powerful force is necessary before the struggle can be completely successful. That force is an aroused and educated public awareness. It is in the hope of aiding in developing such awareness that this picture has been produced. What happens to Jane Bradford may happen to anyone. There will always be "Jane Bradfords" until you, Mr. Citizen, co-operate with the forces now fighting the dope evil to forever stamp it out in our land. --The Management. See more »


Remake of The Pace That Kills (1928) See more »


All I Want Is You
Performed by Nona Lee
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User Reviews

It's so terrible, it's funny
4 September 2007 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is yet another horrible exploitation film from the late 1930s--a period chock full of low-budget stinkers about sex and drugs (such as REEFER MADNESS, MARIJUANA and SEX MADNESS). So why did they make so many horrid films like this? Well, the producers SAID it was to inform parents about certain social problems, but more often than not the films were intended to skirt past the new and rigid Production Code that banned "inappropriate material" in films, and if the material were "educational", then it might slip past the censors in many states. In the guise of education, nudity, incest, drug abuse and many other taboos were addressed in film--and usually in the tackiest and silliest manner.

While THE PACE THAT KILLS (aka, "Cocaine Fiends") is not as bad an exaggeration as the many marijuana films (that actually stated or implied that pot was WORSE than heroin, cocaine and pills), the ridiculousness of the plot will no doubt make modern audiences chuckle. So, the film makers were able to take a serious issue that needed to be addressed and made it all seem comically stupid--way to go, guys!

The film begins with a nice girl being tricked into using cocaine by an evil pusher. She has a headache and he tells her to inhale this "new headache medicine". So, like a total idiot, she does without question and becomes hooked. Later, after this nice girl disappears into the dreaded "big city", her brother goes looking for her--only to also become hooked when another ne'er do well offers him a new "headache powder"! Apparently stupidity DOES run in families. Now the depths to which they fell--losing everything due to the addiction wasn't terribly overdone. But, how they got there and the preachiness of the plot no doubt made kids of the day often WANT to do drugs because the message was so obviously phony and silly.

Horrid writing, acting, direction and editing--this film manages to fail on every level except one--it is quite funny. Of course, with a total budget of $39.50, what can you expect from this film?

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