AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Big Hangover
Alternate Title: Drink to Me Only
Director: Norman Krasna (Dir)
Release Date:   26 May 1950
Production Date:   early Aug--late Sep 1949
Duration (in mins):   82
Duration (in feet):   7,380
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Cast:   Van Johnson (David Maldon)  
    Elizabeth Taylor (Mary Belney)  
    Percy Waram (John Belney)  
    Fay Holden (Martha Belney)  
    Leon Ames (Carl Bellcap)  
    Edgar Buchanan (Uncle Fred Mahoney)  
    Selena Royle (Kate Mahoney)  
    Gene Lockhart (Charles Parkford)  
    Rosemary De Camp (Claire Bellcap)  
    Phillip Ahn (Dr. Lee)  
    Gordon Richards (Williams)  
    Matt Moore (Mr. Rumlie)  
    Pierre Watkin (Samuel C. Lang)  
    Russell Hicks (Steve Hughes)  
    Kathleen Lockhart (Mrs. Parkford)  
    Gayne Whitman (Associate)  
    Bert Moorhouse (Associate)  
    Stuart Holmes (Associate)  
    Philo McCullough (Associate)  
    Harold Miller (Associate)  
    Cameron Grant (Associate)  
    Jay Eaton (Associate)  
    Cliff Clark (Albert Johnson)  
    Anna Q. Nilsson (Helen Lang)  
    Bess Flowers (Mrs. Hughes)  
    Tristram Coffin (Jenkins)  
    Lester Dorr (Waiter)  
    Cosmo Sardo (Waiter)  
    Dino Bolognese (Waiter)  
    John Valentine (Thomas)  
    Elsa Peterson (Miss Dowling)  
    Everett Glass (Attendant)  
    Louise Lorimer (Mrs. Johnson)  
    Peter Thompson (Phil)  
    Charles Evans (Dean Hardwick)  
    Brett King (Intern)  
    Mickey McCardle (Veteran)  
    Fred Shellac (Veteran)  
    Bert Davidson (Veteran)  
    John Rosser (Veteran)  
    Bob Davis (Veteran)  
    Lew Smith (Veteran)  
    Lyle Clark (Veteran)  
    The Country Gentlemen (Singers)  
    Loulie Jean Norman (Soloist in "Sleepy Time Gal" and "At Sundown" numbers)  

Summary: While attending law school, honor student David Maldon is awarded a job at the prestigious law firm of Belney, Parkford, Evans and Hughes. One day, at a birthday cocktail party for the law firm's senior partner, John Belney, David behaves in an erratic manner. His behavior catches the notice of John's daughter Mary, an attractive psychoanalyst, who accuses John of being drunk. John denies the accusation and explains that he suffers from "liquor recoil," a condition he developed during World War II, when he nearly drowned in a vat of brandy at a French monastery. Realizing that David gets drunk at the mere mention of alcohol, Mary saves him from further humiliation by sending him home. In the hope of curing himself of his sensitivity to alcohol, David decides to take a teaspoonful of brandy every night before going to bed. The experiment appears doomed to failure, however, when David begins imagining that his dog is talking to him. The day after John's birthday party, Mary, who has fallen in love with David, offers to help David overcome his problem. Intrigued by David's claim that his dog talks to him, Mary offers him a glass of brandy and observes him conversing with his dog. One day, at the law office, David is present when Carl Bellcap, the city attorney, threatens to sue John if he allows one of his clients, the manager of a luxury apartment building, to evict the Lees, a Chinese couple. Carl also warns John that if the pregnant wife of the Chinese doctor loses her child, he will charge the law firm with causing her undue trauma and will hold it responsible. When Dr. Lee's wife loses her child in childbirth, David, working without the consent of the attorneys at his firm, contacts the management company and insists that the Lees be returned to their apartment. Later, at an alumni dinner, Charles Parkford, the partner at the law firm who is responsible for the eviction of the Chinese couple, learns that David is allergic to alcohol and decides to take revenge on his initiative by secretly slipping some wine into his soup. The wine makes David drunk, and he embarrasses himself by singing with the band. When David regains his sobriety, he accuses Bellcap of compromising his responsibilities as a public servant to gain favor with the partners at the law firm. Bellcap admits that he is seeking a job at the law firm, but tells David that he has been stymied in his efforts to fight rich and powerful law firms like John's because few talented lawyers are willing to work for the city. Convinced that Bellcap has done the best he could to fight the many injustices in the city, David apologizes to him. At his law school graduation ceremony, David announces his resignation from John's law firm, and accepts a job with the city attorney's office. Though Mary prefers that David remain with her father's firm, she respects his principles and plans to marry him. 

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew's Inc.)
Distribution Company: Loew's Inc.  
Director: Norman Krasna (Dir)
  Marvin Stuart (Asst dir)
Producer: Norman Krasna (Prod)
Writer: Norman Krasna (Wrt)
Photography: George Folsey (Dir of photog)
  Joseph Ruttenberg (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons (Art dir)
  Paul Groesse (Art dir)
Film Editor: Fredrick Y. Smith (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis (Set dec)
  Henry W. Grace (Assoc)
Costumes: Helen Rose (Women's cost)
Music: Adolph Deutsch (Mus score)
Sound: Douglas Shearer (Rec supv)
Special Effects: Warren Newcombe (Spec eff)
Make Up: Jack Dawn (Makeup created by)
Country: United States

Songs: "At Sundown," music and lyrics by Walter Donaldson; "Sleepy Time Gal," music by Ange Lorenzo and Richard A. Whiting, lyrics by Joseph Reed Alden and Raymond B. Egan.
Composer: Joseph Reed Alden
  Walter Donaldson
  Raymond B. Egan
  Ange Lorenzo
  Richard A. Whiting

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Loew's Inc. 13/3/1950 dd/mm/yyyy LP2945 Yes

PCA NO: 14167
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Sound System

 
Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Alcoholism
  Allergy
  Business ethics
  Employer-employee relations
  Lawyers
  Psychoanalysts
  Public defenders
 
Subjects (Minor): Aunts
  Birthdays
  Chinese Americans
  Dogs
  Duplicity
  Eviction
  Fathers and daughters
  Graduations
  Hallucinations
  Idealists
  Law students
  Racism
  Romance
  Uncles
  Universities and colleges--Alumni
  Veterans

Note: The working title of this film was Drink to Me Only . Norman Krasna's onscreen credit reads: "Written, directed and produced by Norman Krasna." The opening cast list differs slightly in order from the end credits. HR production charts list Joseph Ruttenberg as the film's photographer, while onscreen credits list George Folsey. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   18 Mar 1950.   
Daily Variety   15 Mar 50   p. 4.
Film Daily   22 May 50   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Aug 49   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Sep 49   p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Mar 50   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   18 Mar 50   p. 229.
New York Times   26 May 50   p. 20.
Variety   14 Oct 1949.   
Variety   15 Mar 50   p. 12.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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