A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
Youthful Father Chuck O'Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy, but his level gaze and twinkling eyes make it clear that he knows ... See full summary »
Don Birnam, long-time alcoholic, has been "on the wagon" for ten days and seems to be over the worst; but his craving has just become more insidious. Evading a country weekend planned by his brother Wick and girlfriend Helen, he begins a four-day bender. In flashbacks we see past events, all gone wrong because of the bottle. But this bout looks like being his last...one way or the other. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Ray Milland actually checked himself into Bellevue Hospital with the help of resident doctors, in order to experience the horror of a drunk ward. Milland was given an iron bed and he was locked inside the "booze tank." That night, a new arrival came into the ward screaming, an entrance which ignited the whole ward into hysteria. With the ward falling into bedlam, a robed and barefooted Milland escaped while the door was ajar and slipped out onto 34th Street where he tried to hail a cab. When a suspicious cop spotted him, Milland tried to explain, but the cop didn't believe him, especially after he noticed the Bellevue insignia on his robe. The actor was dragged back to Bellevue where it took him a half-hour to explain his situation to the authorities before he was finally released. See more »
Position of Don's hand changes. This is when Don gets Wick to call Helen after standing her up to meet her parents. See more »
[Nat moves to wipe away the circle of whisky from Don Birnam's glass]
Don't wipe it away, Nat. Let me have my little vicious circle. You know, the circle is the perfect geometric figure. No end, no beginning.
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The script and score are superb and the acting flawless. Ray Milland is riveting in the role of a man who is as consumed by alcohol as it is consuming him. He lives and breathes for it and all around him become secondary including his long suffering girlfriend.
There is always a girl like this in the life of a good looking useless purposeless alcoholic kept afloat by either a wife or other family member, in this case a brother who pays the bills and tries to sober him up and dry him out periodically.
The score is relentless and highly avant Gard for its time, featuring music normally backing sci-fi flicks. Some of the scenes are profoundly frightening, his stay in the drunk tank with a sadistic feminine male nurse outlining all the horrors that await him and his DTs which feature a bat biting the head off a bird.
Very well done. I felt the ending was a little too pat, that would be my only fault with this.
9 out of 10. Excellent.
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