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Portrayals of drunks on screen


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No, folks, I am not in a 12-step program. Nor have I ever been...but I am convinced that the wonderful MGM character actor *Frank Morgan* must have...

 

Morgan_2.JPG

 

He's at the top of my list for effective portrayals of alkies on screen. He not only gets sloshed in THE HUMAN COMEDY, but he boozes it up in HONKYTONK and again in SUMMER HOLIDAY. Didn't MGM have anyone else on hand to play these parts? Maybe Wallace Beery was busy...LOL

 

Speaking of *Wallace Beery*, he battles the demon rum in STABLEMATES. I have written about this film previously. I think it's one of Beery's bravest performances in an otherwise routine (but fairly enjoyable) programmer from the late 30s. That scene where his veterinarian character is operating on the horse and desperately needs a sip is probably his best moment on screen. He is also forced to go the teetotaler route in JACKASS MAIL, at the urging of Marjorie Main's character. Strong-arm tactics will make him go straight, yet. LOL

 

Beyond MGM, we have to look at the blood alcohol content of *Susan Hayward* and her intoxicating performance in SMASH UP THE STORY OF A WOMAN. And the time she fell off the wagon in I'LL CRY TOMORROW. There's a country music song called 'Men and Mascara Don't Run.' But in Hayward's case, they do!

 

And we must not overlook *Lee Remick* and *Jack Lemmon* who give outstanding performances in DAYS OF WINE AND (NEU)ROSES. This is one couple you cannot invite over for holiday eggnog.

 

What are some of your favorites?

 

Days-of-Wine-Roses.jpg

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Lol! I ..am..hick..am.. OZ!

 

Movie charactors that were drunks,

 

Joe Clay in "Days of Wine and Roses"

Elwood Dowd in "Harvey"

Willy in "Bad Santa"

Hancock

Ted Striker in "Airplane"

Bluto in "Animal House"

 

One movie that showed the dark side of being drunk is "Child Bride" (1937). In the movie the husband goes out on a bender, comes home drunk and beats his wife for having a fling with another man by the way she never had.

 

Lets not forget television, who can forget out favorite town drunk Otis Cambell in "The Andy Griffith Show"

 

Oh.. how dry I am

Otis_andy-griffith.jpg

 

Edited by: hamradio on Dec 7, 2010 12:08 PM

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An forgotten James Cagney film is "Come Fill the Cup" 1951. Not on a par with "The Lost Weekend", but a well done film { for the most part} with a teriffic performance by Cagney as an ex drunk newspaperman.. The story shifts gears and loses some of its punch, but this movie never gets any air time. Gig Young {A.A. nomination, I believe} Phyllis Thaxter and the great James Gleason. Don't know why this is rearly seen Cagney film.....

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Dec 7, 2010 2:17 PM

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> A forgotten James Cagney film is "Come Fill the Cup" 1951...a teriffic performance by Cagney as an ex drunk newspaperman.. The story shifts gears and loses some of its punch, but this movie never gets any air time.

>

 

I mentioned this one in the thread about WB films seldom aired on TCM. It's one I haven't seen yet. And yes, it was the first time Gig Young was nominated for an Oscar. Ironically, it would be his last film for Warners.

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I believe Frank Morgan also did his share of drinking in BOMBSHELL. Maybe not. The usual way he talked on screen suggested that he had had a few...............I don't think it was made clear that March had any particular drinking problem in BEST YEARS. At the bank ceremony and at the bar-hopping escapade with his family, he didn't seem to know when he had had enough. But a drinking problem? I'm not sure.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> I believe Frank Morgan also did his share of drinking in BOMBSHELL. Maybe not. The usual way he talked on screen suggested that he had had a few...............I don't think it was made clear that March had any particular drinking problem in BEST YEARS. At the bank ceremony and at the bar-hopping escapade with his family, he didn't seem to know when he had had enough. But a drinking problem? I'm not sure.

 

 

Since I am the one that mentioned it I disagree. I think Al (March) definitely was a developing a drinking problem as a way to cope with coming home from war. It's not always how much you drink (although I feel he did drink quite a bit in the film) but the reasons for your drinking to that are part of the problem. The fact that he didn't know when to stop is also part of this.

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Kinokima,

 

That is the gist of what I gathered, too, from watching Freddie's performance in this role. Perhaps they were hindered by the production code. Also there were so many plotlines developing at once in this picture that they may not have had time to show the more pronounced aspects of his problem...but I think he is struggling to readjust and drinking is a way to cope, a way out for him.

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Albert Finny in "Under the Volcano" did a great job, maybe he understands alcoholism first hand, I don't know.......he didn't play it for laughs. I thought it was realistic in that an intelligent human being often shows his/her intelligence while being drunk too....

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One thing that amazes me about older films is the social acceptability of high alcohol consumption. Many of these characters would now be considered alcoholics, e.g., Nick Charles in The Thin Man, who is perpetually imbibing or slightly hungover during a good chunk of the film. Even "innocuous" films like Father of the Bride, where Spencer Tracy's liquor cabinet is as well supplied as an average bar.

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