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Jim Burton, chronic alcoholic, is cared for by Ellen, his incredibly patient, sexy, hard-working wife. A doctor's warning that Jim could become mentally ill strikes enough fear into him that he really wants to cure himself...but can't. One night, he meets William Tobin, a fellow drunk, and finds that he helps himself by trying to help Tobin. Thus is born, amid setbacks, a group resembling Alcoholics Anonymous. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This movie -- in a theater, almost new -- started my life-long love of film noir!
My father used to take me to a third-run theater on Saturday afternoons. We'd see what then was considered action fare for boys. Well, on the lower half of the bill with some Technicolor undersea drama, on came this dark, black and white movie. I wanted to stay but my father said it was too frown-up for me. I hadn't seen it since then! And, it was worth the wait. This is an excellent movie. It's very dark indeed: Though "The Lost Weekend" is a superb movie -- technically far superior to this -- "A Voice In The Mirror is harder-hitting.
We really believe that Richard Egan is an alcoholic. I have friends who are alcoholics and they still act just as this character did almost 50 years ago: They lie, throw pity parties, steal.
I love the exchange between Egan and acerbic family doctor Walter Matthau. Egan says he has needed to drink since his wife (the gorgeous Julie London) and he lost their young daughter. Matthau tells him he's been using that excuse for too long. "One of these days," he says, "you would have broken a shoelace and that would have set you off if Laura's death hadn't." It's an illness. It's a terrible illness, frightening to everyone concerned. Matthau sees through the poor-me story, though, which is what people need.
My point is not to preach. I am no expert. But this movie (now preserved in letterbox) is undeservedly obscure. It's a fine work on its own. And, I will be forever grateful to it for introducing me at a very tender age to the world of film noir.
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