7.1/10
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32 user 41 critic

Under the Volcano (1984)

The last 24 hours in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a lonely, depressed English consul who retreats to alcohol for solace.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Malcolm Lowry (novel), Guy Gallo (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Albert Finney ... Geoffrey Firmin
Jacqueline Bisset ... Yvonne Firmin
Anthony Andrews ... Hugh Firmin
Ignacio López Tarso ... Dr. Vigil (as Ignacio Lopez Tarzo)
Katy Jurado ... Senora Gregoria
James Villiers James Villiers ... Brit
Dawson Bray Dawson Bray ... Quincey
Carlos Riquelme ... Bustamante
Jim McCarthy Jim McCarthy ... Gringo
José René Ruiz José René Ruiz ... Dwarf (as Rene Ruiz 'Tun-Tun')
Eleazar Garcia Jr. Eleazar Garcia Jr. ... Chief of Gardens
Salvador Sánchez ... Chief of Stockyards (as Salvador Sanchez)
Sergio Calderón ... Chief of Municipality (as Sergio Calderon)
Araceli Ladewuen Castelun Araceli Ladewuen Castelun ... Maria
Emilio Fernández ... Diosdado (as Emilio Fernandez)
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Storyline

Against a background of war breaking out in Europe and the Mexican fiesta Day of Death, we are taken through one day in the life of Geoffrey Firmin, a British consul living in alcoholic disrepair and obscurity in a small southern Mexican town in 1939. The Consul's self-destructive behaviour, perhaps a metaphor for a menaced civilization, is a source of perplexity and sadness to his nomadic, idealistic half-brother, Hugh, and his ex-wife, Yvonne, who has returned with hopes of healing Geoffrey and their broken marriage. Written by Eric Wees <eric_wees@ccmail.chin.doc.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No se puede vivir sin amar. (One cannot live without love.)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Mr Bongo Films

Country:

Mexico | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

13 June 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Under the Volcano See more »

Filming Locations:

Acapantzingo, Morelos, Mexico See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,000, 17 June 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,556,800
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Conacite Uno,Ithaca See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As of 2014, this remains as the only film screenplay written by Guy Gallo. See more »

Goofs

The story takes place in 1939, but the car driven by James Villiers that almost hits Albert Finney as he is lying in the road is an MG-TF, which was manufactured between 1953 and 1956. See more »

Quotes

Hugh Firmin: Geoff, what possess you?
Geoffrey Firmin: Sobriety, I'm afraid. Too much moderation. I need drink desperatly to get my balance on.
See more »

Connections

Featured in John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

When Albert Finney is good, he's very, very good.
5 March 1999 | by Doctor_BombaySee all my reviews

This is one of those movies that is always in the discount pile, "Any Rental--99cents'. You find it at garage sales and the like, although I never know why. Perhaps it's the atrocious artwork. Seems a lot of video store patrons base their entire rental decisions on the cover art-I've never heard so many uninformed and ludicrous remarks as have been made in the `User Comments' column for the movie `What Happened Was'-a very smart adult drama. Seems the provocative pose of star Karen Sillas on the cover suggested some sort of couples-therapy Skinamax special. Ooh the disappointment of it all.

Anyway, Under the Volcano is also a very smart adult drama. To begin with, Albert Finney's Oscar nominated performance (he did garner an LA Film Critics award), is superb (1985 was the year Amadeus swept). As the terminally alcoholic Geoffrey Fermin, Finney plays quite a different sort of beast than those played famously by Ray Milland (Lost Weekend), Jack Lemmon (Days of Wine and Roses), and Nick Cage (Leaving Las Vegas).

Fermin is adrift in his alcoholism-an educated man, an English Consul, no less, whose losing battle with booze has cost him his job (Consul to Mexico), and his wife. He is at that stage when the bottle is his last and only compadre as it may. He has succumbed to it, long before this drama begins. His resignation is complete, any pretense of normalcy is only a whisper. He is waiting for it to take his life.

Under John Huston's direction, Under the Volcano is basically a one-man show. In support, as Fermin's wife Yvonne, Jacqueline Bisset gives for me the strongest performance of her career.

Highly recommend, but don't expect to come away with sunshine on your shoulders.


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