The Big Hangover

The Big Hangover is a 1950 American comedy film released by MGM. The film starred Van Johnson and Elizabeth Taylor and was written and directed by Norman Krasna. Supporting players include Percy Waram, Fay Holden, Leon Ames, Edgar Buchanan, Selena Royle, Gene Lockhart, and Rosemary DeCamp.[2]

The Big Hangover
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Krasna
Written byNorman Krasna
StarringVan Johnson
Elizabeth Taylor
Music byAdolph Deutsch
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byFredrick Y. Smith
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • May 26, 1950 (1950-05-26) (U.S.)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,626,000[1]

The Big Hangover was one of Elizabeth Taylor's first films to feature her in an "adult character" role, the first being the 1949 British thriller Conspirator.

Despite being released with high hopes, The Big Hangover was a critical and box office disappointment. Home video releases are scarce in any format, as the movie remains largely unknown.


Law school student David Maldon is hired by a prominent law firm. At a birthday party for the senior partner, John Belney, his erratic behavior causes Belney's beautiful daughter, Mary, to accuse David of being drunk.

He is not. David suffers from a rare malady, "liquor recoil", causing him to become intoxicated at the mere taste of alcohol. He hallucinates during these episodes, and Mary, a psychoanalyst, is fascinated at the way David even imagines a talking dog.

City attorney Carl Bellcap is threatening a lawsuit against the firm over the eviction of a Chinese family from their apartment. David intervenes, saving the day, but firm partner Charles Parkford had been responsible for the eviction and is now livid. Parkford slips wine into David's soup, then enjoys watching the younger man make a public spectacle of himself.

At law school graduation, David surprises his colleagues by submitting his resignation, deciding to work instead for Bellcap and the city. Mary hates to see him leave the family firm, but respects David's values and has also fallen in love.



Krasna sold his story to MGM in March 1949 for what he said was more than $100,000.[3]

In July June Allyson was announced for the lead with Montgomery Clift wanted to play her co star.[4][5] By the end of the month however Van Johnson and Elizabeth Taylor were set as stars.[6]

The film was also known as Drink to Me Only.


Box Office

According to MGM records the film made $1,320,000 in the US and Canada and $306,000 overseas, leading to a profit of $25,000.[1][7]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. The Big Hangover at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  3. BY WAY REPORT: Norman Krasna Sells Self as Director of Own ComedyBy A. H. WEILER. New York Times 13 Mar 1949: X5.
  4. Kramer Signs Zinnemann; Build-up for Thompson; Carey, O'Hara in 'Bowie' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times7 July 1949: 23.
  5. JUNE ALLYSON GETS NEW COMEDY LEAD: New York Times 6 July 1949: 23.
  6. Walt Disney to Speed 'Cinderella'; Gary Cooper Will Narrate Scenic Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times25 July 1949: A7
  7. "Top Grosses of 1950". Variety. January 3, 1951. p. 58.
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