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Under the Volcano
(1984)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by by:
Alex North
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LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Masters Film Music
(Varèse Sarabande)
(1991)
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ALBUM AVAILABILITY
A limited release through the Masters Film Music part of the Varèse Sarabande CD Club. Its value hovered at about $60 in the late 1990's.
Awards
AWARDS
Nominated for an Academy Award.
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ALSO SEE
Africa




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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you agree with film music historians that Alex North is a master of dramatic and ethnic technique, and you wish to hear one of their usual citations to that point.

Avoid it... if North's dissonant, slightly Hispanic stupor as a representation of alcoholism isn't your idea of a good time.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #1,333
WRITTEN 3/15/97, REVISED 5/27/06
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North
North
Under the Volcano: (Alex North) Neither this movie nor the respected novel by Malcolm Lowry on which it was based can be described in any way as an uplifting experience. The story is the disturbing portrayal of a day in the life of a hopeless drunk, lost forever in the dirty ditches of Cuernavaca, Mexico. A former British consul to the area, the primary character has lost his job, his wife, and is occupied with his own drunken condition each day. His efforts to drink himself sober are complicated when his prayers are answered and his wife returns from New York to visit him. The day they spend together is both bittersweet and grim, and in the end, the ditch awaits once again. The legendary John Huston directed the film after his illnesses had already begin to take his life, and the film is noted for its keen ability to convey the cognitive problems involving alcoholism without resorting to the usual techniques of defocusing and spinning by the camera itself. Much of the credit for this triumph is given to the controlled Albert Finney in the performance as the consul, avoiding outward overacting and a need for pathos or respect. Along the lines of the analysis of alcoholism, the film also accurately paints a discouraging picture of Mexico in the 1940's, causing the entire project to be as depressing an exercise as any adaptation of the novel would have to be. Like Huston, who was residing in Mexico in the latter stages of his career, composer Alex North had a love for the culture of Mexico after having lived and studied there in the 1930's. His familiarity with the folk music and overarching culture made him a natural choice to score Under the Volcano. And, by in almost every opinion, his score is a perfect fit for the film. Along with an Oscar nomination for Finney in the leading role, North --who was a darling of the Academy at the time-- also received a nomination. Despite statements across the board that Under the Volcano is a classic score, there always exists a dissenting voice, and you're about to hear it here.



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VIEWER RATINGS
93 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 2.74 Stars
***** 14 5 Stars
**** 16 4 Stars
*** 17 3 Stars
** 24 2 Stars
* 22 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
1 TOTAL COMMENTS
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Alternative review at Movie Wave
Southall - July 3, 2006, at 4:23 p.m.
1 comment  (1686 views)
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 19:58
• 1. Dance of the Dead (3:10)
• 2. Pastorale (1:26)
• 3. Empty Bottles (2:59)
• 4. The Bedroom (1:17)
• 5. Shower (1:25)
• 6. Off to the Fiesta (1:25)
• 7. Yvonne Returns (0:45)
• 8. Death of the Flute Player (1:42)
• 9. Journey to the Farolito (1:00)
• 10. A Night of Death (2:05)
• 11. End Credits (2:43)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes detailed information about the score and film.
Copyright © 1997-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Under the Volcano are Copyright © 1991, Masters Film Music (Varèse Sarabande) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/15/97 and last updated 5/27/06.
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