Under the Volcano (film)
|Under the Volcano|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Huston|
|Written by||Guy Gallo|
Under the Volcano|
by Malcolm Lowry
|Music by||Alex North|
Under the Volcano is a 1984 film directed by John Huston and written by Guy Gallo. It stars Albert Finney, Jacqueline Bisset, Anthony Andrews, and Katy Jurado. The film received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Albert Finney) and Best Original Score (Alex North).
It is based on the semi-autobiographical 1947 novel by English writer Malcolm Lowry. The film tells the story of Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic British former consul in the small Mexican town of Quauhnahuac on the Day of the Dead in 1938.
Reviewing in The New York Times, Janet Maslin had much praise for Finney's performance:
- Drunkenness, so often represented on the screen by overacting of the most sodden sort, becomes the occasion for a performance of extraordinary delicacy from Albert Finney, who brilliantly captures the Consul's pathos, his fragility and his stature. Alcoholism is the central device in Mr. Lowry's partially autobiographical novel. (The author, like the Consul, was capable of drinking shaving lotion when nothing more potable was at hand.) Yet the Consul's drinking is astonishingly fine-tuned, affording him a protective filter while also allowing for moments of keen, unexpected lucidity. Mr. Finney conveys this beautifully, with the many and varied nuances for which Guy Gallo's screenplay allows. For instance, when the exquisite Yvonne (played elegantly and movingly by Jacqueline Bisset) reappears in Cuernavaca one morning, she finds her ex-husband in a cantina, still wearing his evening clothes. He turns to gaze at her for a moment, pauses briefly, and then continues talking as if nothing had happened. Seconds later, he turns again and looks at Yvonne more closely, still not certain whether or not this is a hallucination. It takes a long while for the fact of Yvonne's return to penetrate the different layers of the Consul's inebriated consciousness, and Mr. Finney delineates the process with grace and precision, stage by stage.
The film was enthusiastically received.
- Nominated - Best Actor Academy Award (Albert Finney)
- Nominated - Best Original Score Academy Award (Alex North)
- Nominated - Palme d'Or Cannes Film Festival
- Nominated - Best Actor Golden Globe (Albert Finney)
- Nominated - Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe (Jacqueline Bisset)
- Winner - Best Actor, London Film Critics Circle (Albert Finney)
- Winner - Best Actor, Los Angeles Film Critics Association (Albert Finney; tied with F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus)
- Selected - Top 10 Films of the Year - National Board of Review
- Nominated - Best Actor, New York Film Critics Circle (Albert Finney)
Related documentary films
Huston's drama has sometimes been shown in tandem with an earlier documentary film: Volcano: An Inquiry Into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry (1976) is a National Film Board of Canada feature-length documentary produced by Donald Brittain and Robert A. Duncan and directed by Brittain and John Kramer. It opens with the inquest into Lowry's "death by misadventure," and then moves back in time to trace the writer's life. Selections from Lowry's novel are read by Richard Burton amid images shot in Mexico, the United States, Canada and England.
There are two documentaries about the making of the Huston film: Gary Conklin's 56-minute Notes from Under the Volcano and the 82-minute Observations Under the Volcano, directed by Christian Blackwood.