Monkey on my Back is the 1957 movie loosely based on Barney Ross’ life. Barney is a boxer who has a bad habit of getting into gambling debts. He’s able to stop after he meets Cathy. Ross joins the Marines and becomes a hero, but becomes addicted to Morphine. At first, he’s able to control it, but as his addiction gets worse, he starts to alienate everyone around him. After beating up a fellow addict and finding out his pusher’s in jail. He vows to beat his addiction, will Barney Ross succeed?
The movie isn’t that bad and shows that anybody can become addicted. Interestingly, the movie starts when Barney is fighting to reclaim his title. In fact, it’s a metaphor for the fact that he always has a hard fight whenever he screws up. First to win back the heart of his love, Cathy, and again when he vows to kick his addiction. Honestly, it looked like he was headed for a gambling addiction before he switched to Morphine, implying that he may be hardwired for it. The hallucinations near the end are more chilling than his thrashing around. It’s also understandable why he wouldn’t tell anybody about his addiction, as there were stereotypes that addicts were weak-willed or violent homeless criminals. It’s a relief when his wife says he should have told her, as it shows that their love is a lot stronger than he thought it was. Honolulu social problem film fans may want to rent this.
More at: Tricia’s Retro Film Reviews
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