A Movie That Should Open Your Eyes

To the Ends of the Earth (1948)

Here’s a movie that’s older than I am, and yet amazingly, maybe even shockingly, pertinent to today.

To the Ends of the Earth (1948) stars Dick Powell as a U.S. Treasury agent trying to bust up an international drug ring. Set in 1935, it might as well be now.

This film gave me an insight I’d never had before: the drug trade and human trafficking feed on one another: you don’t have one without the other. Agent Barrows gets one look at the human trafficking aspect of the crime–and I ought to warn you, it’s an intense scene–and devotes himself to bringing the criminals to justice.

To do that, he has to travel all over the world–to China, Egypt, Lebanon, Cuba, and then back to New York. Wherever he goes, he has to liaise with his local counterparts–men of all different countries, all working together to protect the world from organized evil. Here we cross over into fantasy-land, because all these guys are brave, unselfish, cooperative, and pure… instead of being unspeakably corrupt themselves.

But the idealism behind the film does come through, and I found it rather affecting. If only things could really be that way!

Alas: how could organized crime exist without criminals in government?

Nowadays we’re dealing with Mexican drug cartels, international bad guys in China and Iran and Russia helping them along, and massive human trafficking across our ruptured southern border. These are evils countenanced by the Democrat Party, whose leaders work hard to block reform. Whether they’re getting paid off by Communist China or just acting out of pure perversity depends on the individual.

We still have the problems dealt with in this film; but the idealism is now in short supply.

10 comments on “A Movie That Should Open Your Eyes

  1. This has always been the devil’s world. We Christians and other decent folk live in occupied territory. Oh, we thought it was “getting better,” but it was only getting worse. What has happened in this last decade merely opens our eyes to the fact that the bad guys will win ~ at least for now. But do not hope for a victory in this world. The battle has been won, of course, but the Victory won’t be in the here and now, sad to say.

    1. I disagree. Our Heavenly Father has a plan, and it is not the defeat of America which is the light of freedom to the world. Keep your eyes on Trump and enjoy the rollercoaster ride that is coming. We are the majority in America, not the Left.

  2. It’s hard to know what to hope for in a movie about organized crime, dirty politics, and other critical issues of the day. If good prevails decisively at the end, people can become complacent about how easy the solution seems — and they don’t try to do anything about the problem because other people are handling it. But if good fails completely in the end, people can become hopeless about the situation — and again they don’t try to do anything. It takes a very good screenwriter and a very good director to find the right balance — assuming they even want to do so, or that these days they’ll be allowed to do so.

    1. I suspect the idealism of the various law enforcement personnel came across a lot more believably in 1948 than it does now. Maybe some of the people watching the movie went home thinking that these problems could actually be solved, given enough hard work, courage and dedication.

      I’d feel bad if I mocked people for believing that.

    2. I agree with you, Lee. In former times we took courage from seeing that it was possible to win against evil. But the “hard work, courage, and determination” that you speak of is no longer held up as an ideal. On the contrary, it’s usually presented as one of the evils to be fought against, i.e., white supremacism, classism, or some other Marxist-inspired bogeyman (pardon me, I mean bogeypeople, unless that’s also verboten because it’s too speciesist).

      In recent years, I’ve often found myself mentally shouting, “Where are the MEN?” Yeah, yeah, I know that’s transphobic and all the rest of it. Who cares?

    1. Some of the current events in 1935 and 1948 were very similar to today’s.

      I don’t know how I could have failed to see the connection between drugs and human trafficking; but I see it now–one of those things you can’t un-see.

    2. I believe that a wise fellow once said that there is nothing new, under the Sun. He was as right today, as we was thousands of years ago. People tend to fall into the same traps, throughout history. We’ve been in serious decline for decades. The moral decay, sexual conduct and drugs all work in lockstep. The drugs may have been different in Solomon’s day, but the desired effect was the same; to escape one’s conscience and to numb one’s anxieties. Satan loves it.

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