7.1/10
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32 user 40 critic

Under the Volcano (1984)

R | | Drama | 13 June 1984 (USA)
The last 24 hours in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a lonely, depressed English consul who retreats to alcohol for solace.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Dr. Vigil (as Ignacio Lopez Tarzo)
...
Senora Gregoria
James Villiers ...
Brit
Dawson Bray ...
Quincey
...
Bustamante
Jim McCarthy ...
Gringo
José René Ruiz ...
Dwarf (as Rene Ruiz 'Tun-Tun')
Eleazar Garcia Jr. ...
Chief of Gardens
Salvador Sánchez ...
Chief of Stockyards (as Salvador Sanchez)
...
Chief of Municipality (as Sergio Calderon)
Araceli Ladewuen Castelun ...
Maria
...
Diosdado (as Emilio Fernandez)
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Storyline

Against a background of war breaking out in Europe and the Mexican fiesta Day of Death, we are taken through one day in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a British consul living in alcoholic disrepair and obscurity in a small southern Mexican town in 1939. The Consul's self-destructive behaviour, perhaps a metaphor for a menaced civilization, is a source of perplexity and sadness to his nomadic, idealistic half-brother, Hugh, and his ex-wife, Yvonne, who has returned with hopes of healing Geoffrey and their broken marriage. Written by Eric Wees <eric_wees@ccmail.chin.doc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No se puede vivir sin amar. (One cannot live without love.)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 June 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bajo el volcán  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$31,000 (USA) (17 June 1984)

Gross:

$2,556,800 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reportedly, director John Huston wanted to make this film for thirty years which during this time Huston read more than twenty adapted screenplays of its source novel. See more »

Goofs

The story takes place in 1939, but the car driven by James Villiers that almost hits Albert Finney as he is lying in the road is an MG-TF, which was manufactured between 1953 and 1956. See more »

Quotes

Hugh Firmin: Geoff, what possess you?
Geoffrey Firmin: Sobriety, I'm afraid. Too much moderation. I need drink desperatly to get my balance on.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Baja (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

When Albert Finney is good, he's very, very good.
5 March 1999 | by (Lucas Buck, NC) – See all my reviews

This is one of those movies that is always in the discount pile, "Any Rental--99cents'. You find it at garage sales and the like, although I never know why. Perhaps it's the atrocious artwork. Seems a lot of video store patrons base their entire rental decisions on the cover art-I've never heard so many uninformed and ludicrous remarks as have been made in the `User Comments' column for the movie `What Happened Was'-a very smart adult drama. Seems the provocative pose of star Karen Sillas on the cover suggested some sort of couples-therapy Skinamax special. Ooh the disappointment of it all.

Anyway, Under the Volcano is also a very smart adult drama. To begin with, Albert Finney's Oscar nominated performance (he did garner an LA Film Critics award), is superb (1985 was the year Amadeus swept). As the terminally alcoholic Geoffrey Fermin, Finney plays quite a different sort of beast than those played famously by Ray Milland (Lost Weekend), Jack Lemmon (Days of Wine and Roses), and Nick Cage (Leaving Las Vegas).

Fermin is adrift in his alcoholism-an educated man, an English Consul, no less, whose losing battle with booze has cost him his job (Consul to Mexico), and his wife. He is at that stage when the bottle is his last and only compadre as it may. He has succumbed to it, long before this drama begins. His resignation is complete, any pretense of normalcy is only a whisper. He is waiting for it to take his life.

Under John Huston's direction, Under the Volcano is basically a one-man show. In support, as Fermin's wife Yvonne, Jacqueline Bisset gives for me the strongest performance of her career.

Highly recommend, but don't expect to come away with sunshine on your shoulders.


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