Film ID: YFA 4813 Video of YFA_4813 The Magic Pills THE MAGIC PILLS 1958 Visitor TabsDescription The following is a fiction film about a travelling salesman who sells magic pills which promise to make the buyer run faster, be stronger, and stay young. Title card: 'Phorbee Films' Title card 2: 'presents THE MAGIC PILLS' Title card 3: 'THE,TRAMP J, SHAW THE,WEAKLING D, HOBSON OLD , MAN J, ALAM SLOW RUNNER B TATE CAMERA B. KING J. DAW EDITORS D. CRAZE, W. STEAD PROPS G. SHIPPIN, J. FIELDING I COR/BE' The camera is set opposite a corner of a housing street. A man stands on the corner, carrying a tray, and crosses towards the camera. Standing in front of the camera he is wearing a hat, duffle coat, false beard, and bottles of pills on his tray. A sign 'MAGIC PILLS' hangs from the front of the tray. People pass by on the street. Close up of the tray shows the bottles are labelled 'RUN FASTER PILLS', 'GET STRONG PILLS', 'GET YOUNG PILLS' 'The Weakling' walks grumpily down the street with his hands in his pockets. He passes a car and bus. A group of four boys are hanging around the street corner. They attack 'the weakling' and he runs away. After there is a close up of the boys laughing at him. The salesman walks down the street, and 'The Weakling' almost crashes in to him. He stops to look at the pills and decides to purchase some 'GET STRONG PILLS'. He rounds the corner and eats one, pulling faces while he chokes it down. He flexes his muscles, which seem to be growing and smiles at the camera. The four boys are still on the street corner laughing, but start to look worried and point at something. In close up a bulked up 'the weakling' fills the screen, his hands clenched into fists and his arms bent in front of him in the strongman style. He swaggers down the street and beats up the gang of four. The salesman laughs and 'The Weakling' walks away. The salesman walks through a park, smoking a cigarette and carrying his tray of pills. He is almost run down by a group of boys running across the park. One ('slow runner') stops to look at the pills, and buys a 'RUN FASTER' pill. He chews it and finds it hard to swallow. Medium range shot, the pill seller and 'Slow runner' in the middle distance, parkland and trees behind them. 'Slow Runner' sets off running quickly, soon passes the other runners and wins the race. The spectators at the finish line applaud him and gather round as he is presented with a trophy. The salesman is among the group, and he switches the trophy with the bottle of pills and walks off. 'Slow Runner' waves the trophy/pills about triumphantly until he notices the switch, at which point he looks shocked. The salesman continues walking away and vanishes into thin air. Context This humorous film features a magic pill salesman and a number of clients in need of aid. It begins with the salesman approaching the camera, before focusing on a gang pushing a boy around. The boy buys a magic pill and grows huge muscles which allow him to take his revenge. Next, the salesman encounters a running race; the boy in last place buys a magic pill and then promptly finishes first. The selling of fraudulent alternative or magical medicine, which has come to be known as quackery, has occurred around the world for centuries. Quackery became a significant problem in Britain during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Due to the hazardous nature of many fraudulent medicines, the British government attempted to crack down on quacks in the early 20th Century by introducing laws and prosecuting individuals.