Over the course of one day in August 1912, the family of retired actor James Tyrone grapples with the morphine addiction of his wife Mary, the illness of their youngest son Edmund and the ...
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Over the course of one day in August 1912, the family of retired actor James Tyrone grapples with the morphine addiction of his wife Mary, the illness of their youngest son Edmund and the alcoholism and debauchery of their older son Jamie. As day turns into night, guilt, anger, despair, and regret threaten to destroy the family. Written by
Marc Andreu <email@example.com>
Filmed entirely in sequence after three weeks of rehearsal. See more »
As Edmund pockets the money from James, he flashes it in the left hand, but pockets it with the right. See more »
[Edmund has just recited a piece of poetry]
You recite it well... Who wrote it?
Never heard of him. Where you get your taste in authors...
[Motioning to Edmund's bookshelves]
This damned library of yours: Voltaire and Rousseau and Schopenhauer. And Ibsen... Atheists, fools and madmen! And your poet, this... "Baudelaire." And Swinburne, and Oscar Wilde. Whitman and Poe... Whoremongers and degenerates! When I've got three good sets of Shakespeare there you can read...
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For what Eugene O'Neill expected to be his epitaph work, he wrote Long Day's Journey Into Night in 1942 with instructions to his third wife Carlota Monterey, that it be not performed until 25 year after his death. We should have first been seeing it in 1977, but the rights reverted to Yale University and they broke the O'Neill instructions and published the play in 1956 and it made it's Broadway debut in 1957. All of the four principal members of the cast got Tony Nominations with Fredric March winning the Tony that year. Wife Florence Eldridge played the drug addicted Mary Tyrone and the sons were played by Jason Robards, Jr. and Bradford Dillman.
Odd that Fredric March who certainly was a movie name was not asked to repeat his performance, but Ralph Richardson certainly fills in for him ably. Jason Robards, Jr. was the only member of the original Broadway cast to repeat his part for the screen as the drunken and whoring older brother. Younger brother Edmund the prototype for O'Neill himself is played here by Dean Stockwell.
However in the only film she did between Suddenly Last Summer in 1959 and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner in 1967 was cast Katherine Hepburn as the mother who because of her drug addiction descends into madness. She got an Oscar nomination, but lost to Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker.
O'Neill when he died was acclaimed as America's foremost dramatist and many will say he is still that today. Long Day's Journey Into Night is short on plot, but long and deep on characterization. The whole action of the play takes place in 1912 on a summer's day at the home of James Tyrone acclaimed matinée idol of a bygone era with Tyrone and his family. Eugene O'Neill wanted to show us where he came from and why he had the attitudes he did and he succeeded beyond even his own imagination.
The Tyrones are the O'Neills. In more ways than one I might add. O'Neill was the family name of the Earl of Tyrone who back in Queen Elizabeth's Tudor England was the uncrowned King Of Ireland. O'Neill knew full well the rank he had attained in his own profession and was claiming literary royalty so to speak.
Ralph Richardson as James Tyrone/O'Neill was an actor of great promise who got acclaim for performing as The Count of Monte Cristo in a dramatization of Alexander Dumas's novel. He took easy success and performed the play so much the public would not see him as anything else. Certainly actors try to avoid typecasting and while the play made him rich eventually the public bored of it and him. Knowing that money was not coming in, he invested frugally into real estate. Some call it frugal, some call it cheap.
During the difficult birth of Eugene/Edmund, Mary Tyrone/O'Neill developed an addiction to morphine, mainly because Richardson went to a cheap quack. The American stage had not seen a descent into madness like this since Jessica Tandy in Streetcar Named Desire. Though she was nominated for this performance and won four Academy Awards for other films, this may be Katherine Hepburn's best work. It's also one of the few substantial women's roles in any of Eugene O'Neill's plays. You will not forget Hepburn in this part.
Jason Robards, Jr. was older brother James Tyrone/O'Neill. He's several years older than his younger brother and there was another son who died in infancy between them. He's not got his brother's talent for writing and as an actor, he's followed his father and taken the easy road to dissipation himself. Both are carousers, but Richardson's a has been, and Robards will become a never was.
The Tyrone/O'Neill family is all recorded through the perceptive eyes of Dean Stockwell. This was Eugene O'Neill's way of taking us into a dark corner of his past, he's letting us know as few humans on the planet ever did as to what made him tick.
Once seen Long Day's Journey Into Night is never forgotten.
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