Though not specifically designed as a companion piece to the 1984 John Huston feature film Under the Volcano (especially since it was filmed eight years earlier!), Donald Brittain's Volcano fills that function nicely. This 90-minute documentary on the life of self-destructive British author Malcolm Lowry is knowingly narrated by Richard Burton. Special emphasis is given Lowry's chef d'ouevre, the 1947 novel Under the Volcano, an intensely autobiographical study of an alcoholic's descent into Hell, as symbolized by that curious Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead. Originally titled Volcano: An Inquiry Into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature. It has since become a staple of local PBS fundraising drives.
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