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
Although billed 9th in the credits, actress Sara Allgood appears only in one scene and does not have one single line of dialogue. 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 »
One example of something Film can offer, and so rarely does
I found this film fascinating, stimulating, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Though I have not ever seen a stage production of the O'Neil original, this nearly 3 hour long film seemed to be essentially a filmed version of that play. And for that I thank the filmmakers of this production, actors, directors, producers and studio. In reviewing other's opinions about this film, I am amazed that so often the negative criticisms concern exactly those strengths I found in this film. That it was not full of artificially cooked-up "atmosphere" from Steiner (whom I do truly respect and enjoy elsewhere), that it was not full of quick cuts and microscopic closeups was something I found wonderful. That it was confined essentially to a very few sets was also wonderful. Those sets were very detailed and not skimpy at all. This was a filmed play! That some should state that as a negative is beyond me. There are so many films (even in this film's release era of 1947) available to so many people in so many areas, but how many of us have been lucky enough to experience a great playwright's work, brought to life by great acting and delivery? Far far fewer folks, in far far fewer venues, and far far fewer locations. This then is what I mean when I say that this film was one example of something Film can offer and so rarely does. The opportunity to experience a play!
And what a wonderful experience it was. The acting was terrific. After more than one scene between Christina and Lavinia, I fairly exclaimed with pleasure at the dramatic interplay between the two. What some called disdainfully "overacting", I found thrilling and stimulating. After all, one is not watching a home movie of one's family or friends. So called "realism" in many modern films is in my mind vastly overrated. A work of film, or of the stage, should be "realistic" it is true, but should not ever be so real as to distract from the art itself.
Tastes change and film-making is an industry to make money like other manufacturing methods. But part of the admiration for what is often called the "Golden Age of Hollywood" is attributable to the then less uncommon understanding that "Art" was as valid the goal as earning a profit! At least by the people involved in the acting and production, if not by the investors themselves. Sure there are occasionally great films made today, and there were plenty of "B" pictures made then too, but to critically dismiss this film for not being something other than what it was, is to miss the point I feel.
Rosiland Russell Rules! JACK in Maine
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