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The Big Hangover (1950)

Approved | | Comedy | 26 May 1950 (USA)
A law school graduate is hired by a top law firm but hides from them a secret about a problem he has--he is so allergic to alcohol that one whiff of it and he passes out like a light.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Mary Belney
Percy Waram ...
John Belney
Fay Holden ...
Martha Belney
...
Carl Bellcap
...
Uncle Fred Mahoney
Selena Royle ...
Kate Mahoney
...
Charles Parkford
Rosemary DeCamp ...
Claire Bellcap
Philip Ahn ...
Dr. Lee
Gordon Richards ...
Williams, the Chauffeur
Matt Moore ...
Mr. Rumlie
Pierre Watkin ...
Samuel C. Long
Russell Hicks ...
Steve Hughes
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Storyline

A law school graduate is hired by a top law firm but doesn't tell them about a problem he has--he's so allergic to alcohol that one whiff of it and he passes out like a light. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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alcohol | secret | See All (2) »

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Comedy

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Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

26 May 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cicatrices del recuerdo  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

David Muldon: Why couldn't I just have gotten shot in the war, like everybody else?
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Connections

References The Lost Weekend (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

At Sundown (When Love Is Calling Me Home)
(uncredited)
Written by Walter Donaldson
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User Reviews

 
Mixing themes is like mixing drinks: The aftermath gives cause for regret
27 February 2003 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Nineteen-fifty can't have been an accommodating year for a drama with a `progressive' axe to grind, so writer/director Norman Krasna opted for stealth: He wrapped it in a simple-minded screwball plot. Alas, the comedy takes an offensive, loutish turn while the social commentary ends up trivialized, an afterthought.

Van Johnson, valedictorian of his law school class, interns at a white-shoe firm but hides an awkward secret. In France during the war, a bombing raid on a monastery almost caused him to drown in Napoleon brandy. Ever since, he has zero tolerance for booze, in a way that's different (but not entirely so) from abnormal drinkers who sometimes refer to their `allergy' to alcohol; even a whiff sets him off into sustaining conversations with floor lamps and sheep dogs, like another inebriate of that year, Elwood P. Dowd. But pains are taken to stress that he's not `an alcoholic.' Luckily Elizabeth Taylor, daughter of the firm's head, rescues him from embarrassment and sets out to `cure' him.

In the Scotch-and-martini days of post-war drinking, maybe audiences swallowed the fallacy that Johnson's aversion to spirits was a crippling obstacle to his happiness and success; at one juncture he even laments, `Why couldn't I just have been shot in the war?' (The unthinkable is never proposed – that, like millions of others, with and without problems, he simply abstain.)

Then, about halfway through, the movie suddenly springs its `serious' theme. Johnson is lied to about an incident of anti-Asian discrimination in which his firm is involved (this seems courageous until it dawns that a Jim Crow incident could never have been used). Everything comes to a head at a self-congratulatory banquet where the partners – with the connivance of their wives – become merry old pranksters, spiking Johnson's soup in hopes that he'll discredit himself. But, Taylor at his side, Johnson surmounts his disability and blows a clarion call for truth, justice and the American way.

Appealing performances by Johnson, Taylor, Leon Ames, Gene Lockhart and many others help the movie go down rather smoothly. But then The Big Hangover lives up to its title: afterwards, It's foolish, unpleasant and regrettable.


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