Pathe's Drink was based on Gervaise, a "slice of life" novel by Emile Zola. A young, physically challenged washerwoman, Gervaise cannot understand why her boyfriend Lantier has grown cold as of late. She soon learns that Lantier has been won away by a vixenish coquette named Virginia. Angered by Virginia's taunts, Gervause gives the "other woman" a public beating then marries her old friend Coupeau on the rebound. A heavy drinker, Coupeau promises never to touch another drop after the wedding. But the vengeful Virginia arranges for Coupeau to suffer a painful accident, which leads him to consume "medicinal" liquor. He ends up in the drunk ward of the hospital, but Gervaise forgives him, again extracting a promise that he will take The Pledge. Alas, Virginia returns to spike Coupeau's sherry with brandy, driving the poor man into a booze-induced delirium. Unable to endure this final assault on his system, Coupeau dies in agony. Gervaise would be filmed several times in the future, most memorably by director Rene Clement in 1956.
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