Some films featuring views of drinking and bars, 1920s - 1950s:
1) _Miller's Crossing_ (1990): Wonderful movie, lots of drinking, in a
bizarre, Cohen-brothers fantasy of gangland '20s America.
2) _The Untouchables_ (1988?): Mediocre movie, but all about illegal booze
racket during prohibition.
3) _Dr. Strangelove_ : Okay, it's a little late, but Gen. Ripper's drinking
habits (rainwater and pure grain alcohol) are part of one of the most
hilariously insightful portraits of lunatic-fringe American anti-Communism.
4) _The Lost Weekend_ (?): Probably not what the Seagram's Museum has in mind,
this is one of the earlist Hollywood movies to confront the issue of alcoholism
in a serious and insightful way. Features a lot of bar scenes, which together
amount to a really interesting portrait of late '40s/early '50s bar culture.
5) _Horse Feathers_ (?): Great Marx brothers movie about university pres.
Groucho trying to build a college football team. Key scene takes place in bar
with the famous password "Swordfish."
6) _Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler_ (Ger.,192?): Shifting gears entirely, this film
features a lot of scenes of 1920s Berlin nightclub/bar nightlife. (Hardly why
you'd want to see this movie, tho', which is a great classic for any number of
other reasons). Sequel, _The Testament of Dr. Mabuse_, also dir. by Fritz Lang
, dates from 1932, and contains a fair number of nightlife scenes as well, but
they are a bit less visually flamboyant, and dramatically less important, than
in the earlier film.
7) _Mr. Deeds Goes to Town_: Already mentioned for its courtroom sequence,
another key sequence features Deeds getting drunk and going on a spree around
Manhatten which gets reported rather negatively in the NY papers.
8) _It's A Wonderful Life_: In the decade between _Deeds_ and _Life_ drinking
appears, for Capra, to have gone from being a humorous pecadillo, blown out of
proportion by the press, to the central symbol of social evil in the Bedford
Falls that would have been had there been no George Bailey. Thank heavens for
S & L s!!!
I'm sure I'll think of more, but really, like court scenes, there are so many
drinking scenes (and drunk scenes) in Hollywood flix c. 1933 - 1960 that the
list is really endless . . .
-- Ben Alpers
(NB: Neither my opinions, nor my drinking habits, necessarily reflect those
of Princeton University.)