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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
I just didn't 'get it' - because I didn't care about the characters
On the surface Bottom of the Bottle seems like it could be really interesting. I like movies that show the middle 50's, there's a really nifty house with a kitchen right out of a mid 50's design book, it is beautifully shot with some nice scenery outdoors.
The key for me to really enjoy a movie is when I get hooked into the characters. I have to be interested in them, worried about them, find them likable or appealing even if in a sinister way. This movie fell flat for me because frankly I didn't much care for any of the characters. I guess I felt a little sorry for Ruth Roman, the wife who wanted children and her husband (Joseph Cotten) wouldn't 'give' her any... but Joseph Cotten just isn't the kind of person you can generate much warmth for. He's about as appealing as a first-aid cabinet. I like Van Johnson - usually - but his character here is a jerk even when he's sober. While his love and concern for his family makes him seem a little more human, I just couldn't empathize with him. He and Joseph Cotten, brothers in the story, never seemed very brotherly to me and between them it's hard to say which one I cared less about.
What happened to the horses when they crossed the river? I guess they were both just washed away and nobody cared? I didn't like that. They were Cotten's horses; the least he could have done was ask 'are they all right' and look pained when he found out what happened, but not even a mention.
If you want to watch a movie that shows some dysfunctional family life in the middle 50's including people battling the bottle and other demons, I would suggest the real gem 'No Down Payment'. I think it's ten times the movie that this one is. For me, this one is a yawn. If I hadn't been exercising during the time it was on it would have been a total waste of my time. I'll give it five stars because it's not BAD bad, but it's just not that good either. It's just a so-what movie.
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