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Confessions of an Opium Eater (aka Souls for Sale)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Vincent Price, Linda Ho, Philip Ahn
  • Directors: Albert Zugsmith
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009H3LNJ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,002 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Vincent Price faces the death of 1,000 cuts in this delirious pulp adventure directed by Touch of Evil producer Albert Zugsmith. Returning to San Francisco after a long stay in the Orient, two-fisted mercenary Gilbert De Quincey (Price) finds himself caught in the midst of a Tong war. Descending deep below the surface of Chinatown, he plays one side against the other in a daring attempt to break up a human trafficking ring, where slave girls are auctioned for opium. A surreal, rip-roaring yarn packed with evil drug lords, secret passageways, illicit opium dens and more, Confessions of an Opium Eater is a “claustrophobic fever dream … one of the most bizarre, beautiful and poetic Z-films ever made” (Chicago Reader)!

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Customer Reviews

Very grateful to Warners for releasing this.
J. L. Alberti
Possibly the best movie ever made by the best actor who ever lived.
Amazon Customer
No matter what you are prepared for, it will surprise you.
Hans B

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By 4-Legged Defender on December 30, 2012
Format: DVD
And how the hell did it ever get released? By now, Vincent Price was entrenched in low budget, factory-formulaic yet memorable and mostly enjoyable B flicks for the Corman / Zarkoff stable over at International; how he ended up here is both uncertain and welcomed, as his typically overly-theatrical narrative gave William Shatner something to aspire towards yet provides a coherently campy eccentricity that actually adds much to this surrealistic fever dream. And just what was anyone thinking when they came up with this title? No one in the early 60's was familiar with DeQuincy's 'Confessions of an English Opium Eater' from 1821 (acknowledged as the first serious literary work concerning drug use so prevalent then). It wasn't taught in colleges and didn't enjoy resurgence until ten years later when drug use was in vogue and most professors were themselves experimenting. This film has oddities to the tenth power written all over it. This is probably why I enjoyed it.

There's no dialogue for the first eleven minutes, it's more like a graphic novel than film, ripe with pulp novel imagery regarding Chinese slave women abducted for auction at the turn of the century San Francisco, mythic Tong wars running rackets, seaports, opium and slavery, and Asian stereotypes from said time-frame (which is excusable at the time the film was made as well as what little we Americans knew of Asians back in the early 1900's, as they were known for both furtive secrecy and non-assimilation, like most immigrants then). And there's that symbolic, surreal white horse that plays a pivotal role in that first beach scene; later recognized as a well-known metaphor for heroin, derived from opium. Whew. And from here it only gets stranger. Much stranger.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 21, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember seeing the ads for this movie when it played in my hometown back in 1962. While there were yet no X rated theaters as such, CONFESSIONS played in one of those second tier movie houses which would shortly become one. It wouldn't have mattered as I was too young to see such a movie anyway although I was already a big Vincent Price fan. It took me half a century to catch up with this little gem although in today's politically correct and technologically sophisticated times, it probably won't appeal to many people. However if you have a taste for the unusual or the bizarre or love Vincent Price then you might want to give this one a try.

Shot on a shoestring budget by exploitation producer Albert Zugsmith (SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE, THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ADAM & EVE) and also directed by him, this OPIUM EATER is not an adaptation of the famous Thomas De Quincey work but rather a reimagining of it. Price plays Gerald De Quincey, a descendant of Thomas who 100 years later in 1902 becomes involved in a Tong war in San Francisco over the selling of Asian brides. Vincent plays a philosophical action hero (?!) who waxes poetic as he attempts to free the captured women. While the Chinese characters speak in Charlie Chan English, they are at least played by Asian performers who give commited performances in spite of the dialogue.

Originally released by low budget specialists Allied Artists (formerly Monogram Pictures), the movie is now being released by Warner Archive as an MOD (made on demand) DVD-R. Whether it's for the film's 50th anniversary I'm not sure but whatever the reason, I'm glad to have finally caught up with it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. L. Alberti on October 19, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I know that's saying a lot but this outdoes anything he did for AIP. Those movies were from Poe or Poe-esque. While it took it's title from the De Quincey novel only a small part, the opium den scene, could be attributed to it.

"I think you wear more faces than there are stars in a gutter after the rain."

That i just a small portion of the weird Confucianism's that are peppered throughout this movie. Basically a war between the Tongs and the Drug & "Bride" traders, Price's De Quincey is a mercenary who is siding with the traders until he gets close to one of the "Brides" and decides to help her escape.

It's a very slow and meandering movie where a chase scene is all in slow motion because Price is stoned from opium. It never really gets into 2nd gear and even the ending takes to long to get to it.

Don't get me wrong, I love this movie. Not quite as strange as I remember it, but, then again, it's been decades since I last saw it.

The 1:66 anamorphic picture is grainy and shows it's B movie budget but is still looks great for a 50 year old film.

Here's where I usually drop a bomb and blast this to bits. However, I really don't have any negatives to say at all. Very grateful to Warners for releasing this.

If you haven't seen this then you won't get much out of it. If you have then this is a must.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pandora on December 30, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you like Vincent Price, check this out. It is not a horror movie, but who cares? It is interesting, creative, and well done. It was also quite fun to watch. So what if it was "low budget"? This movie further shows the depth/diversity of Vincent Price as an actor. I also really enjoyed the fun and entertaining character "Child", played by Yvonne Moray. Honestly, I cannot believe the low ratings that this movie has been given in some places. It makes no sense to me. Give it a try and see for yourself! ;)
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