According to the opening narrator, in 1976 the Thames company interviewed executives of the Phillip Morris company for a documentary on cigarettes. When Phillip Morris saw the results, they were outraged. Phillip Morris claims that Thames took great efforts to disguise the purpose of the interviews and took the matter to court in Britain. The courts ordered that all copies of the documentary were to be turned over the Phillip Morris. Well, one copy wasn’t and became the subject of this documentary, “The Strange Case Of Death In The West”.
“Death in the West” is considered to be one of the finest documentaries ever made. It was originally produced for British television and vigorously suppressed by tobacco interests. This powerful expose of cigarette advertising myths juxtaposes the healthy independent image of the Marlboro man, defended in revealing interviews with tobacco industry executives, with the stark reality of six smoking cowboys, all dying of smoking-induced illnesses. The video increases perception of the hazards of smoking, creates skepticism about cigarette advertising, and discourages young viewers from starting to smoke.