Synanon (film)

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Poster of Synanon (film).jpg
Directed by Richard Quine
Produced by Richard Quine
Written by S Lee Pogostin
Starring Edmond O'Brien
Music by Neal Hefti
Cinematography Harry Stradling, Jr.
Edited by David Wages
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
Running time
105 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,000,000[1]

Synanon is a 1965 film directed by Richard Quine and starring Edmond O'Brien, Stella Stevens, Eartha Kitt, Alex Cord and Chuck Connors. It has a screenplay by Ian Bernard, and was filmed at Synanon in Santa Monica, California.[2]


Hooked on heroin, Zankie Albo is admitted to Synanon House, a rehabilitation center. Chuck Dederich, a recovering alcoholic, is in charge.

Zankie is placed in the care of Joaney during his early, painful stages of drug withdrawal. She, too, is a rehabbing junkie, and any further mistake on her part could permanently cost her custody of her child.

An attraction develops between Zankie and Joaney, resulting in jealousy from another man interested in her, Ben, a parolee and "graduate" of the center. Ben reports them to the center's officials after catching Zankie and Joaney in a romantic tryst. A patient who manages to get high on cough medicine is persuaded by Zankie to share it leading to a tragic end.

Zankie while in a seedy motel room with Joaney shoots up heroin, which unbeknownst to him is bad. As he experiences a reaction to the drug, Joaney watches in horror; seconds later Zankie is dead from the overdose.



A. H. Weiler of The New York Times was positive: "Richard Quine, who produced and directed this new arrival ... has glaringly spotlighted residents of this West Coast haven for the dope and alcohol enslaved, with results that are arresting and informative. ... Mr. Quine and his troupe achieved authenticity and a documentary quality simply by filming their story at the actual Synanon House on the beach at Santa Monica, Calif."[3]


  1. ^ Rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
  2. ^
  3. ^ A.H. Weiler, "Narcotics Addiction and Cure Depicted" May 6, 1965

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