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The Bottom of the Bottle (1956)

Patrick Martin (Joseph Cotten), known as P.M., is a wealthy attorney and rancher big-man-in-town in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. He returns home to find his brother Donald (Van ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Martin / Eric Bell
Pat 'P.M.' Martin
Nora Martin
Hal Breckinridge
Stanley Miller
Ellen Miller
George Cady
Hannah Cady
Mildred Martin
Luis Romero (as Gonzales-Gonzales)
John Lee ...
Tod Griffin ...
Rancher (as Ted Griffin)
Ernestine Barrier ...
Lucy Grant


Patrick Martin (Joseph Cotten), known as P.M., is a wealthy attorney and rancher big-man-in-town in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. He returns home to find his brother Donald (Van Johnson)hiding in his garage. A former drunkard, Donald had been sent to the penitentiary five years previously for killing a man in a barroom brawl. It was in self-defense but P.M. hadn't defended his brother and he was convicted. Donald has escaped and wants his brother to help him across the Santa Cruz River into the Mexico-side Nogales, where his wife (Shirley Patterson as Shawn Smith)and children (Kim Charney and Sandy Deschler) are in dire straits. The straits get even dier when P.M. tells him the river is flooded and it will be days before anyone can cross. And P.M. is all a'twitter because his wife Nora (Ruth Roman), whom he married after Donald had gone to prison, doesn't know about his jail-bird brother. He introduces Donald to Nora and the rest of his Cadillac Cowboy and ranch society friends... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Release Date:

19 May 1956 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Gefangene des Stroms  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The chimes on the doorbell to Joseph Cotten (Pat Martin)'s house play "How Dry I Am". Quite fitting considering Van Johnson (Donald)'s drinking problem and the "lushy" household guests that tempt him. See more »


Pat 'P.M.' Martin: I'd appreciate if you'd keep my inquiry confidential.
Luis Romero: But naturally, mi amigo. Naturally.
See more »


Blue Moon
Music by Richard Rodgers
Played the next morning when Eric and Nora talk
See more »

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User Reviews

Le Fond De La Bouteille
12 February 2010 | by See all my reviews

"Le Fond De La Bouteille" is based on a true story ;Georges Simenon remembered his own past:he was the one who made it big whereas his brother Christian ,his mum's favorite ,was a washout,someone who always failed.Like the movie,the novel takes place on the Mexican border and that's why ,unlike other Simenon American adaptations ("The man on the Eiffel Tower ") it was successful because it' s hard for an American director to recreate the Parisian atmosphere.

And of course there is Henry Hathaway !When will they give this great director the place he deserves?I have seen many of his movies,some are among my favorites ("Peter Ibbetson" "lives of a Bengal Lancer" "Niagara").

Joseph Cotten was ideally cast as the "good " "Abel-like" brother ;and who could play his fallen brother but Van Johnson?Ruth Roman is less cold than usually :the actress is believable as a -apparently- frivolous party woman who helps her husband discover forgiveness and compassion.Hathaway makes a good use of the wide screen ,particularly in the scenes on the river -which recall those of "Niagara" which Cotten's presence reinforces.He also strikingly contrasts the luxury house and the seedy room Mildred and her children pack into.

Georges Simenon spent a part of his life not far from the Mexican border;his book was probably a catharsis.

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