Malcolm Lowry's subtle, challenging novel about Mexico on the eve of World War II was a difficult book to turn into a film. Veteran director John Huston, at age 78, brought his own gift for examining madness to the project. The story is about a drunken British ex-consul to Mexico whose life becomes increasingly disoriented during the celebration of the Day of the Dead in 1939. His ex-wife pays a visit, but her affair with his half-brother plunges him deeper into despair. Albert Finney was Oscar-nominated for his haunting, vivid performance as a man whose wretchedness knows no bounds. Many lovers of the book believed that the story had been turned into little more than a long, drunken monologue. Other critics reveled in Huston's ability to make even ordinary scenes seem hallucinogenic.