6.6/10
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14 user 5 critic

The Bottom of the Bottle (1956)

Approved | | Drama | 19 May 1956 (West Germany)
In the border town of Nogales, Arizona, a wealthy attorney and rancher is solicited by his escaped convict brother in aiding him to cross the border into Mexico where his wife and children are living in poverty.

Director:

Henry Hathaway

Writers:

Georges Simenon (novel), Sydney Boehm
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Van Johnson ... Donald Martin / Eric Bell
Joseph Cotten ... Pat 'P.M.' Martin
Ruth Roman ... Nora Martin
Jack Carson ... Hal Breckinridge
Margaret Hayes ... Lil Breckinridge
Bruce Bennett ... Brand
Brad Dexter ... Stanley Miller
Peggy Knudsen ... Ellen Miller
Jim Davis ... George Cady
Margaret Lindsay ... Hannah Cady
Nancy Gates ... Mildred Martin
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez ... Luis Romero (as Gonzales-Gonzales)
John Lee ... Jenkins
Tod Griffin Tod Griffin ... Rancher (as Ted Griffin)
Ernestine Barrier Ernestine Barrier ... Lucy Grant
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's brother against brother ... stripping the southwest's ranch society of its bought respectability !

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1956 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Other Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,695,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Pat 'P.M.' Martin: When a man is trying to make a gesture for the first time in his life, no one has the right to talk him out of it.
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Soundtracks

Give Me the Simple Life
(uncredited)
Music by Rube Bloom
Played as the guests arrive at the Breckenridge party
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User Reviews

 
Interesting performances, all-around...
28 July 2009 | by MarieGabrielleSee all my reviews

And also well-directed, Joseph Cotten in particular with the often-told Cain and Abel theme. This is explored with the backdrop of alcoholic brother,Van Johnson.

"JD Martin" is well-established lawyer living near the Mexican border with his neglected wife, Ruth Roman.Cotten, often cast memorably in noir films (most notably his performance in Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" as the "merry widow murderer"), reverses roles here as he is the ostensibly sensible conformist, and Van Johnson the nice guy who is down on his luck Jailed for a bar brawl, he escapes from a Joliet Illinois prison.There are a few cloying scenes with Johnson calling his displaced family on the lam in Nogales Mexico.Other than that, Cotten steals the show here as troubled older brother who reinvented himself and wants to forget his impoverished childhood in Iowa.

The set decoration is notable here,shadows and glass, interesting 1950's architecture and subtle notes of intrigue. It hints at the idea that, everything is not necessarily as it seems.Cotten and his wife attend the requisite cocktail parties "...we can't miss a party at Lil Breckenridge's"...Roman tells her husband,though she seems miserable and unfulfilled.

Well-written, and worth watching more than once for Cotten and several nuanced performances.


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