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Plot, Details & Awards

Under the Volcano

R 112min.
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Plot & Details

A strange, hallucinatory adaptation of the Malcolm Lowry novel of the same name, John Huston's bleak drama is set during the Mexican "Day of the Dead" ceremony in 1939. Albert Finney stars as Geoffrey Firmin, the booze-besotted former British consul to Cuernevarca, who has cut himself off from his loved ones, the better to drink himself to death while surrounded by all manner of skull-and-skeleton decorations. At the urging of his wife Yvonne (Jacqueline Bisset), his half-brother Hugh (Anthony Andrews) goes on a "heart of darkness" search for his missing sibling. Novelist Lowry was himself a suicidal alcoholic, who poured every drop of his embittered philosophy into the Firmin character. If any director could bring Lowry's difficult novel to life, it was Huston, whose own record for drunken self-destruction is the source of legend. (Huston was actually the seventh director to tackle the novel, which had originally been optioned in 1957 by actor Zachary Scott.) Artists contributing to the fascinating Under the Volcano include the brilliant Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, screenwriter Guy Gallo, composer Alex North, and director Emilio Fernandez, cast in a significant cameo as a bartender.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1984 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actor Albert Finney Nominated
1984 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Original Score Alex North Nominated

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1984 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Albert Finney Nominated
1984 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Jacqueline Bisset Nominated

Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1984 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Actor Albert Finney Won

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1984 National Board of Review Best Picture Nominated

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