We are here today to praise the drunkards. Specifically, drunk heroes.
But let me clarify what I mean by this–because there are plenty of drunks in cinema, and many of them are protagonists or sympathetic supporting characters. That’s not what I mean. I’m more interested in the rare subspecies of such characters where their imbibing is actually integral to their heroism, not a character flaw.
By way of an example, let’s start with an edge case and see where it does or does not fit my criteria: Robert Mitchum’s Sheriff from El Dorado. There is a moment where Mitchum is stalking an assassin who has retreated into a saloon. The killer is surrounded by armed compatriots, and Mitchum actually isn’t sure what the bad guy looks like (he has at best a hazy description). If he sets foot in the saloon he’ll be wildly outnumbered, and in enemy territory–but he’s got one advantage. He’s a known drunk who just humiliated himself minutes earlier.
His enemies underestimate him severely, and he uses that to his advantage.
So, for that one scene, Mitchum’s rumminess is a plus. But in the rest of the film, his alcoholism is a character failing that he must overcome–indeed the point of El Dorado is to highlight how his drinking has become a problem with substantial negative externalities (fancy lawyer talk for “hurts other people”).
Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on October 14, 2012
On this day of October 14 something wonderful happened 34 years ago. Before I go down that rabbit-hole, let me preface this post by stating that I like both my beer and films to be bold and distinct. During the late seventies, something pivotal happened to ensure the beer scene was about to get much better and eventually explode with quality and diversity, and during this same time some pivotal things happened to ensure that the movie scene would slowly become increasingly formulaic and homogenized. Three decades later and we now have over 2,000 craft breweries in operation, while craft films have been eclipsed by a lot of crap films that are as homogenized and market-driven as any bottle rattling down an Anheuser-Busch assembly line. The box office hits for this year are mostly remakes (Bourne Legacy, Spiderman), sequels (Men in Black 3, The Dark Knight Rises), prequels (Prometheus), or some amalgam of a recognizable franchise (The Avengers). This combination of spectacle-fueled and market-driven “product” gets test-marketed to death and is beholden to merchandise sales, delivering the visual equivalent of a piss-clear corporate Pilsner that has virtually no taste and is easily forgotten. [...MORE]
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Art in Movies Australian CInema Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Black Film Blu-Ray Books on Film Boxing films British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Film Composers Film Criticism film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films About Gambling Films of the 1960s Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes movie flops Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movie titles Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Serials Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller Swashbucklers TCM Classic Film Festival TCM Underground Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies