Un ardu sommet de la littérature mondiale dont l'adaptation cinématographique avait tenté (vainement) moult réalisateurs et pas des moindres (Losey, Bunuel, Dassin, Russell) qui sous la caméra d'un John Huston éclatant de maîtrise et de charisme, ayant su rester fidèle à l'esprit tourmentée du roman, en gardant l'essence même de la plongée suicidaire (rédemptrice ?) du héros de Malcolm Lowry. www.cinefiches.com
¿Qué delicias y horrores nos habrían deparado las moiras del cine, de haber dejado este proyecto fílmico en manos de Buñuel? Acaso don Luis le hubiera dado un giro infernal a la admonición que resume la ironía de todo: “¿Le gusta este jardín, que es suyo? ¡Evite que sus hijos lo destruyan!”
Whereas Lowry's masterpiece creates an internal, often overwhelming world of madness and pain, and one that is only tangentially linked to alcoholism, Huston's film is concerned with recounting the simple drunken events of the book. It contains a brilliant sozzled performance by Finney, in lieu of creating a language which can accomodate Lowry's Dantean vision.
Under the Volcano is a film about worlds, and men, trying and failing to effect a careful, teetering balance between order and anarchy. What is the right dose of liquor to administer to an alcoholic attempting to steer a course between the shakes and oblivion? What is the maximum defensible amount of evil we can allow to exist in the world uncontested? Huston asks Lowry's questions through a mouth full of ashes.
I haven't read Malcolm Lowry's book so no comparison here. I found the Mexican scenes very credible, very close to what may still be found in Central or South America if you leave the main cities. I also have the utmost respect for John Huston for having entrusted Katy -High Noon- Jurado and Emilio - 40 films as a director- Fernández with two small parts in Under the Volcano. Highly recommended.
I liked the book a lot, so I was a bit hesitant about whether I should see the movie. I'm happy I did; it turned out to be a good appendix for the book: really nice shots of Day of the Dead festivities, amarillos, numerous 'cantinas'... It does not say as much about the characters as the book does, but the actors are good and look very credible in their roles. However I found the ending slightly smudged, so 4 of 5.
I remember this being on A&E as a kid and being mesmerized. Having just read the novel it dawns one me how interesting an adaptation this is in that Finney has to suggest everything that Lowry did brilliantly in voice over with his gestures and body movement and the political things are insinuated rather well!