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Under The Volcano On Film

Malcolm Lowry, author of Under The Volcano, was the stereotypical great writer–alcoholism, relationship issues, early and unfortunate death.

The coroner called Lowry’s passing a “death by misadventure”–he was thought to have overdosed on a lethal mixture of sleeping pills and alcohol. At 47, he died young, with a brilliant career behind him and a full life still ahead of him.

In 1976, the National Film Board of Canada put together a documentary called Volcano: An Inquiry Into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry. It explores his “death by misadventure” and looks back at his life, with passages from Under The Volcano read by Richard Burton. The film was Oscar nominated, and you can watch the whole thing here.

Oh, but that’s not all!

Under The Volcano was also turned into a feature film in 1984, directed by John Huston and starring Albert Finney as the Consul. The film received two Academy Award Nominations.

Oh, but that’s not all!

Two documentaries were also made about the making of the Under The Volcano feature film. Is this confusing yet? Notes From Under The Volcano and Observations Under The Volcano looked behind the  making of Huston’s Academy Award nominated movie.

Obviously, Under The Volcano is a good fit for the big screen, and I think it’s ripe for a modern remake in the next decade or so. That’s just me talking, though.

This trailer looks a little cheesy with overacting, but I think that’s more of a 1980s thing. Anyone seen the movie or any of these documentaries?

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have seen the movie, a long time ago, in a college class that studied alcoholism and madness in film and literature. It’s true to the book, embellishes where needed, and cuts where it can’t fit (Geoff’s history with the Germans aboard his ship, for example, I don’t remember getting mentioned.). But it’s got all that’s needed, and the Consul in particular is acted well, if I remember.


    April 24, 2012
    • Albert Finney as the Consul. Don’t know the name, but once I saw him I recognized him. He’s been in a lot of movies.


      April 24, 2012
  2. Matt #

    What is it about movie trailers from the 1980s? So cheesy.


    April 25, 2012
  3. I love reading something that fits the movie world as well. Some authors are in touch with real dialog, action, conflict, and description in just the right way sometimes that the idea is ripe for the screen. It’s interesting how different mediums reveal different qualities in art as a whole.

    Great post. Very true.


    April 27, 2012

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