13 user 9 critic

Come Fill the Cup (1951)

Alcoholic newspaperman Lew Marsh hits bottom, loses his job and is rehabilitated by Charley Dolan. After six years on the wagon he gets his job back and devotes himself to other recovering ... See full summary »


Gordon Douglas


Ivan Goff (screen play), Ben Roberts (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
James Cagney ... Lew Marsh
Phyllis Thaxter ... Paula Copeland
Raymond Massey ... John Ives
James Gleason ... Charley Dolan
Gig Young ... Boyd S. Copeland
Selena Royle ... Mrs. Dolly Copeland
Larry Keating ... Julian Cuscaden
Charlita Charlita ... Maria Diego
Sheldon Leonard ... Lennie Garr
Douglas Spencer ... Ike Bashaw
John Kellogg ... Don Bell
William Bakewell ... Hal Ortman
John Alvin ... Travis Ashbourne - Reporter


Alcoholic newspaperman Lew Marsh hits bottom, loses his job and is rehabilitated by Charley Dolan. After six years on the wagon he gets his job back and devotes himself to other recovering alcoholics. His boss enlists his help to sober up his nephew, Boyd Copeland, who has married Lew's old sweetheart. Boyd, who is involved with a cabaret singer and the mob, presents quite a challenge. Written by Herman Seifer <alagain@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

24 October 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Veneno implacable See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Charley Dolan: Hey Lew, I been thinking. Seems to me it's time you start and use your mind like the you've been using your body, I mean, do what you're meant to do, write for the newspapers.
Lew Marsh: Forget it Charley, after you drunk yourself off of three newspapers, the word goes out over the wire: Lew Marsh is through, Lew Marsh is poison, Lew Marsh tickles, no I like it this way, fine. Just the way things are, fine.
See more »


Referenced in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) See more »


Blanke's Concerto
Music by Ray Heindorf
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User Reviews

oy vey - the arrogance of the one percent!
6 February 2016 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

I'm talking about Raymond Massey as newspaper owner John Ives in my title, but I'll get to that later.

James Cagney plays Lew Marsh, a hard hitting newspaper man who just can't stay away from the bottle. The last straw is when he comes back from a bender and starts to write a story that is five days old. His long suffering editor finally cans him. He is obviously well liked at the paper, and he even has a best girl - Paula (Phyllis Thaxter), who also works in the newsroom.

After he is fired, Lew tells Paula to forget about him, to go find a young healthy guy. Time passes and we see Lew staggering down the street looking haggard and dirty. He falls in front of a passing truck, but is barely missed being hit. An ex alcoholic, Charlie (James Gleason), sees all of this. Lew is taken to the hospital and tied down to a bed until he is past the DTs. He swears off drinking because he claims he heard "angel feathers". Drunks may be running from life, but they are running from death even more, and this brush with death is what did it for Lew. Charlie, an ex drunk himself, meets him as he comes out of the hospital, gives him a home and a job doing construction. A big test of soberness is when Lew sees news of Paula's marriage to the nephew of the owner of the paper he was fired from. He passes that test - barely.

Then comes news he is wanted back on the newspaper. The owner himself, John Ives (Raymond Massey, believes Lew has changed and gives him a second chance. Years pass - six of them to be exact - and then one day John Ives calls Lew to his office. The guy who married Paula, Lew's ex-girl, has become a hopeless alcoholic, and since Lew has had so much success himself and success with picking employees for the newspaper who are ex-drunks that stay sober, he wants Lew to help straighten out the nephew, who is like a son to him - Boyd (Gig Young).

Lew says what the nephew needs are doctors and nurses. Ives is insistent on Lew being the guy to set the nephew straight. This is where my title comes in. Apparently Ives is a hands-on owner, so he has got to know something about Lew and Paula being in a relationship years before. Lew could just not succeed on purpose to get Paula back - Paula and Boyd's marriage is already on the rocks, or being around Paula that much could have Lew falling off of the wagon and being Boyd's new drinking partner. There is even an unexpected gangster angle thrown into all of this. How will all of this work out? Watch and find out.

It's funny, Cagney left skid marks on his way out of Warner Brothers after "Yankee Doodle Dandy", but that studio always seemed to have him pegged for the right roles. The stuff he did independently never seemed to work out and click, yet Warner's put him in films where he made three of his best mature performances - this film, "Mister Roberts", and "White Heat"- and in all three he plays completely different kinds of guys and plays them well.

As far as supporting performances here, they are all excellent. Thaxter is lovely but demure here, first the long suffering girlfriend of one drunk and then the long suffering wife of another. Sheldon Leonard is terrific as a gangster just shortly before he becomes the most successful producer in television. Raymond Massey is very good as gray character John Ives, giving Lew a second chance at the paper years before he knows he'll even need him, but when he needs him to reform his nephew, he rather undoes that good deed by using it to propel Lew forward to do his bidding. And then there is James Gleason in a small but vital "get wise to yourself" kind of role that he had been doing in front of the camera so well for twenty years.

"The Lost Weekend" it is not - but just barely. It does stress the point that alcoholism is a permanent disease, one that the alcoholic is always battling. As Lew Marsh says "One drink is too many, and all the drinks after that are the second drink". Highly recommended if you can ever find it.

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