Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Orestaia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamem--er, Ezra Mannon comes home to his unhappy wife (Christine) and loving ... See full summary »
Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Orestaia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamem--er, Ezra Mannon comes home to his unhappy wife (Christine) and loving daughter (Lavinia). But Lavinia's ex-suitor, Adam Brant, has become Christine's lover, and together Adam and Christine plot to poison Ezra. When they succeed, Lavinia turns to her brother Orin to help bring the lovers to justice, but when they succeed, Orin goes mad and his suicide note may come between Lavinia and her new suitor, Peter Niles. Written by
The movie is one of three RKO-distributed films that were edited heavily after their initial unsuccessful first runs; the others were The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) (aka "The Devil and Daniel Webster") and Joan of Arc (1948). All three have been restored to their full length (or, in the case of "Mourning Becomes Electra", approximately their full length) on DVD. See more »
About 22 minutes into the film, Orin is standing by a bench where Lavinia is seated. He holds his hat by his side and he drops it....it just lies there on the dirt path as he sits down and he doesn't pick it up. See more »
I found this DVD at Borders last week. I had not known a movie version of MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA had ever been made. I took it off the shelf assuming this would be something from about 1970, when a fair number of stage plays were being filmed. That this was from 1947 surprised me. I bought it and was again surprised to find that, unlike almost any film from that era, the actors didn't speak three times faster than people actually do in life. Rosalind Russell is perfect in this uncharacteristic role. Usually she plays wise-cracking sophisticates. Here she plays it straight, which works beautifully. I absolutely see her as this character. Michael Redgrave gives a harrowing performance as her tortured brother, a recently returned Civil War veteran. He delivers one of O'Neill's greatest speeches, a recitation of his moment of military triumph. It's gut-wrenching. I haven't been able to find where this was filmed, but, if it was filmed in Hollywood I have to say I think there was a large British presence in this production. The miking is good, which makes me think it was filmed in Hollywood, British sound being wretched until the advent of James Bond, but the opening credits, shown over a roiling sea, are not in the manner of Hollywood's opening credits in 1947, which are usually shown on placards. It apparently played only briefly and had its last act cut. The IMAGE DVD seems to restore this movie to its original length. (Another review on IMDb says that, after the opening a segment called THE HUNTED was cut. My IMAGE DVD has a segment called THE HAUNTED. However it's spelled, the cut segment is back.) O'Neill is a rough dose of salts, but with serious actors, his plays are very moving. In the hands of a director who knows how to make use of film, a great play can be made into a fine movie, and this is such a movie. I recommend this highly.
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