Voice in the Mirror (1958)

102 or 105 mins | Drama | August 1958

Full page view
HISTORY

The working titles of this film were No Power on Earth , How Lonely the Night and This Day Alone . The film begins with the following written statement: "This is the true account of an overwhelming terror and one man's struggle to survive it. Real names cannot be used for reasons that will become obvious." A 21 Jun 1956 DV article reported that Larry Marcus wrote the original story for the picture and was hired to write the screenplay; his onscreen credit reads "Written by Larry Marcus." Although the film never mentions Alcoholics Anonymous, contemporary reviews noted the obvious allusions to the organization. According to a 17 Aug 1957 DV item, E. G. Marshall was offered a featured role. Modern sources add Harry Hines to the cast as "Charlie." Although a 3 Sep 1957 HR news item adds Lyle Latell to the cast, his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. On 30 Dec 1958, a "Rambling Reporter" item in HR noted that Universal was re-issuing Voice in the Mirror "to position Richard Egan for an Oscar nomination," but Egan did not receive a ... More Less

The working titles of this film were No Power on Earth , How Lonely the Night and This Day Alone . The film begins with the following written statement: "This is the true account of an overwhelming terror and one man's struggle to survive it. Real names cannot be used for reasons that will become obvious." A 21 Jun 1956 DV article reported that Larry Marcus wrote the original story for the picture and was hired to write the screenplay; his onscreen credit reads "Written by Larry Marcus." Although the film never mentions Alcoholics Anonymous, contemporary reviews noted the obvious allusions to the organization. According to a 17 Aug 1957 DV item, E. G. Marshall was offered a featured role. Modern sources add Harry Hines to the cast as "Charlie." Although a 3 Sep 1957 HR news item adds Lyle Latell to the cast, his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. On 30 Dec 1958, a "Rambling Reporter" item in HR noted that Universal was re-issuing Voice in the Mirror "to position Richard Egan for an Oscar nomination," but Egan did not receive a nomination. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2 Jun 1958.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jun 1956.
---
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1957.
---
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1957.
---
Daily Variety
19 May 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 May 58
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1957
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 1957
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 1957
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 1957
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Sep 1957
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Sep 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 1957
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 1958
p. 2.
Los Angeles Examiner
29 Sep 1957
Sec. 5, p. 10.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 May 58
p. 840.
New York Times
14 Aug 58
p. 23.
Variety
21 May 58
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Asst cam
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Unit pub
SOURCES
SONGS
"Voice in the Mirror," words and music by Bobby Troup and Julie London.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
How Lonely the Night
No Power on Earth
This Day Alone
Release Date:
August 1958
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 13 August 1958
Production Date:
12 August--late September 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
20 June 1958
Copyright Number:
LP12458
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
102 or 105
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18798
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Upon returning to the apartment he and his wife Ellen lived in ten years earlier, Jim Burton recalls their circumstances at that time: The couple hopes to escape Jim’s past two years of chronic alcoholism, which began after the death of their young daughter. Jim, who has been unable to hold down work as a commercial artist, resists Ellen’s advice to take his sketches to his former employer Hornsby, and instead drinks all night. He awakens in the police “drunk tank,” where a fellow detainee, musician Harry Graham, offers to share his insights into how he used “spiritual guidance” to stop drinking for twenty months in a row. Caring only about another drink, Jim refuses the invitation, but pockets the card bearing the name of Harry’s nightclub. Outside, Ellen is waiting to bring Jim to the office of Dr. Leon Karnes, who insists that he stay for a physical. After Leon discovers early signs of nerve damage, he warns that Jim must quit drinking or he will lose his mind. Although Ellen immediately makes an appointment at the hospital neuropsychiatric clinic, Jim convinces her first to give him one last chance to quit drinking. The next day, Jim accepts a job with Hornsby but by the afternoon is desperate for a drink. He asks a fellow employee for a sip from his bourbon bottle, and after the other man reveals that the bottle is a gag gift, Jim steals the bottle and pawns it. He drinks all night, at one point impressing a little girl with his cartoon graffiti, but he stumbles away from her, remembering his beloved daughter. Jim awakens in his own bed, to the news that ... +


Upon returning to the apartment he and his wife Ellen lived in ten years earlier, Jim Burton recalls their circumstances at that time: The couple hopes to escape Jim’s past two years of chronic alcoholism, which began after the death of their young daughter. Jim, who has been unable to hold down work as a commercial artist, resists Ellen’s advice to take his sketches to his former employer Hornsby, and instead drinks all night. He awakens in the police “drunk tank,” where a fellow detainee, musician Harry Graham, offers to share his insights into how he used “spiritual guidance” to stop drinking for twenty months in a row. Caring only about another drink, Jim refuses the invitation, but pockets the card bearing the name of Harry’s nightclub. Outside, Ellen is waiting to bring Jim to the office of Dr. Leon Karnes, who insists that he stay for a physical. After Leon discovers early signs of nerve damage, he warns that Jim must quit drinking or he will lose his mind. Although Ellen immediately makes an appointment at the hospital neuropsychiatric clinic, Jim convinces her first to give him one last chance to quit drinking. The next day, Jim accepts a job with Hornsby but by the afternoon is desperate for a drink. He asks a fellow employee for a sip from his bourbon bottle, and after the other man reveals that the bottle is a gag gift, Jim steals the bottle and pawns it. He drinks all night, at one point impressing a little girl with his cartoon graffiti, but he stumbles away from her, remembering his beloved daughter. Jim awakens in his own bed, to the news that Ellen and Leon are awaiting him at the hospital. He races there to beg Ellen not to commit him, and although the doctors remind him that alcoholism is an incurable disease, he bolts away, revolted by the ward patients suffering from dementia. Later, when he finally convinces someone to buy him a drink, his hands shake too much to hold the glass. That night in a church shelter, Jim is unable to sleep and discovers Harry’s card in his pocket. Despairing, he wanders into the chapel and asks the janitor to help him pray, and together they recite The Lord’s Prayer. In the morning, Jim searches for Harry, but cannot locate the musician and finally sits at a bar next to alcoholic Bill Tobin. Jim and Bill order drinks but then, while they discuss the misery of their illness, Jim is inspired to refuse his drink. He returns home, where Ellen is relieved to see him until she realizes that he has brought Bill to stay with them. She reluctantly allows Bill to pass out on the couch, especially after Jim reveals that Bill’s companionship and understanding of alcoholism have given Jim the strength to stop drinking. She pulls away, however, when he tries to kiss her. Just then, Bill suffers a seizure, and Leon is called to tend to him. Leon speaks harshly to Jim about the healing properties of “spiritualism and talking to other drunks,” but secretly hopes to challenge Jim into staying sober for six months. The next day, Jim buys back the gag bottle and brings it to Hornsby as an apology. Hornsby reprimands him in front of the other employees, prompting kind-hearted artist Liz to arrange a job for Jim painting murals for department store windows. At home, Bill, a former teacher, tutors the neighborhood children in return for a room in the basement of Jim’s building. There, Bill introduces Jim to his young friend, Paul Cunningham, in the hopes that Paul will join Jim in his sobriety attempt. Over the next few days, Bill continues to drink but Paul seems to respond to Jim’s sponsorship. One night, Ellen finds Jim working and apologizes for pulling away from him, and in response he kisses her passionately. Just then, Paul approaches them drunkenly, sorely disappointing Jim. Over the next days, Jim attempts to spread the word of his sobriety program around town, and although no one appears to listen, one day Paul approaches him and asks for another chance. Jim is encouraged, and soon gathers a small group of men and women at his apartment to exchange stories and support. Four weeks later, they meet to celebrate Paul’s first month of sobriety, and while the group awaits Paul's arrival, Ellen comes home from work and is upset to find them in her living room. When one man stumbles into the kitchen slurring his words, Ellen runs into the bedroom to cry. Jim follows and urges her not to humiliate the group, who are barely managing to sustain their confidence. Just then, Paul’s mother arrives and berates Jim for pushing Paul too hard, revealing that the boy has just tried to commit suicide. In response, Jim’s group dissipates, causing Jim to despair until Bill reveals that he has secretly gone without a drink for weeks. Thrilled, Jim invites Leon over and introduces Bill as “the hope for drunken humanity.” Later, Bill prepares to visit his daughter, whom he has not seen in years, but on the way to the train station becomes overwhelmed by Jim’s faith in him and drinks until he is arrested. Ellen criticizes Jim, prompting him to declare that she preferred it when she had to take care of him. As he hunts through the apartment for money to buy a drink, Harry appears and, having heard about Jim’s group, begs him to help him get through the night without a drink. When Jim throws him out, a desperate Ellen pulls out a gun, stating that if he cannot “be a man” she would rather he was dead. Jim easily takes the gun away and listens as she begs him to help Harry through just one night, after which he can help Jim through just one day. With new motivation, Jim finds Harry on the street. In the present, Ellen leads Jim into the meeting celebrating his tenth year of sobriety. To his surprise, Bill, Paul, Harry and Leon are there to honor him. Jim refuses to take credit for the success of his program, instead reciting, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.