Under the Volcano

Under the Volcano

4.5 2
Director: John Huston

Cast: Albert Finney, Jacqueline Bisset, Anthony Andrews

     
 

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A strange, hallucinatory adaptation of the Malcolm Lowry novel of the same name, John Huston's bleak drama is set during the Mexican "Day of the Dead" ceremony in 1939. Albert Finney stars as Geoffrey Firmin, the booze-besotted former British consul to Cuernevarca, who has cut himself off from his loved ones, the better to drink himself to death while surrounded by… See more details below

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Overview

A strange, hallucinatory adaptation of the Malcolm Lowry novel of the same name, John Huston's bleak drama is set during the Mexican "Day of the Dead" ceremony in 1939. Albert Finney stars as Geoffrey Firmin, the booze-besotted former British consul to Cuernevarca, who has cut himself off from his loved ones, the better to drink himself to death while surrounded by all manner of skull-and-skeleton decorations. At the urging of his wife Yvonne (Jacqueline Bisset), his half-brother Hugh (Anthony Andrews) goes on a "heart of darkness" search for his missing sibling. Novelist Lowry was himself a suicidal alcoholic, who poured every drop of his embittered philosophy into the Firmin character. If any director could bring Lowry's difficult novel to life, it was Huston, whose own record for drunken self-destruction is the source of legend. (Huston was actually the seventh director to tackle the novel, which had originally been optioned in 1957 by actor Zachary Scott.) Artists contributing to the fascinating Under the Volcano include the brilliant Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, screenwriter Guy Gallo, composer Alex North, and director Emilio Fernandez, cast in a significant cameo as a bartender.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Malcolm Lowry's subtle, challenging novel about Mexico on the eve of World War II was a difficult book to turn into a film. Veteran director John Huston, at age 78, brought his own gift for examining madness to the project. The story is about a drunken British ex-consul to Mexico whose life becomes increasingly disoriented during the celebration of the Day of the Dead in 1939. His ex-wife pays a visit, but her affair with his half-brother plunges him deeper into despair. Albert Finney was Oscar-nominated for his haunting, vivid performance as a man whose wretchedness knows no bounds. Many lovers of the book believed that the story had been turned into little more than a long, drunken monologue. Other critics reveled in Huston's ability to make even ordinary scenes seem hallucinogenic.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/23/2007
UPC:
0715515026420
Original Release:
1984
Rating:
R
Source:
Criterion
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:52:00
Sales rank:
5,977

Special Features

Disc 1 - New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by film editor Roberto Silvi; Audio commentary featuring executive producer Michael Fitzgerald and producers Wieland Schulz-Keil and Moritz Borman on the film; screenwriter Guy Gallo on selected scenes; and actor and filmmaker Danny Huston, John Huston's son, on the main title sequence; Theatrical trailer; Disc 2 - New video interview with actress Jacquelin Bisset; Notes from "Under the Volcano" (1984), an hour-long documentary on the film's production, directed by Gary Conklin; Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry (1976), filmmaker Donald Brittain's 99-minute, Academy Award nominated documentary, narrated by Richard Burton, about Under the Volcano author Malcolm Lowry; Audio interview with John Huston from 1984

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Albert Finney Geoffrey Firmin
Jacqueline Bisset Yvonne Firmin
Anthony Andrews Hugh Firmin
Katy Jurado Senora Gregoria
James Villiers Brit
Martin Palomares Dead Indian
Roberto Sosa Few Fleas
Rodolfo de Alexandra Bus Driver
Ignacio Tarso Dr. Vigil
Dawson Bray Quincey
Carlos Riquelme Bustamante
Jim McCarthy Gringo
Rene Ruiz Dwarf
Salvador Sanchez Chief of Stockyards
Sergio Calderon Chief of Municipality
Hugo Stiglitz Sinarquista
Mario Arevalo Horseman
Günter Meisner Actor
Emilio Fernandez Diosdado

Technical Credits
John Huston Director
John Beal Score Composer
Moritz Borman Producer
Gabriel Figueroa Cinematographer
Michael Fitzgerald Producer
Guy Gallo Screenwriter
Gunther Gerzso Production Designer
Jose Rodriguez Granada Art Director
Alex North Score Composer
Wieland Schulz-Keil Producer
Roberto Silvi Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Under the Volcano
1. Day of the Dead [6:52]
2. Las Manos de Orlac [9:34]
3. The Virgin of Soledad [9:07]
4. Home Cure [12:12]
5. Hugh [7:06]
6. "No Past, Only Future" [9:27]
7. A Miracle [5:30]
8. Fiesta [8:28]
9. Sinarquistas [3:31]
10. Lost Cause [8:39]
11. "I Choose Hell" [4:54]
12. El Farolito [13:25]
13. William Blackstone [10:18]
14. Closing Credits [3:10]

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