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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  31 July 1968 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,491 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 12 critic

When deaf mute Singer moves to a small city to be near his only friend confined in a hospital, he grows attached to his landlady's sensitive 16-year-old daughter.

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Spiros Antonapoulos
Peter Mamakos ...
Charles Spirmonedes
...
Beaudine
...
Margaret 'Mick' Kelly
Biff McGuire ...
Mr. Kelly
Jackie Marlowe ...
Bubber Kelly
Laurinda Barrett ...
Mrs. Margaret Kelly
Robbie Barnes ...
Ralph Kelly
Wayne Smith ...
Harry
Richard Fingar ...
Sucker Wells
Sherri Vise ...
Delores
Gavin Paulin ...
Spareribs
Percy Rodrigues ...
Dr. Copeland (as Percy Rodriguez)
...
Portia
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Storyline

Sentimental story centers around a deaf-mute, Singer, and Mick, a teenager who lives in the house where he rents a room. Mick and Singer become friends, though they are separated by Singer's lack of communication ability and Mick's struggle with teenage problems. The lives of the people Singer touches are varied, linked only by their friendship with Singer. His friends include a deaf-mute, a drunk, and a doctor. Singer does his best to help those around him solve their problems, but who is there to help him solve his own? Written by Melissa Portell <mportell@s-cwis.unomaha.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...and from this man who could not speak or hear, the girl heard many things.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

31 July 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Herz ist ein einsamer Jäger  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mary Badham tested unsuccessfully for the role of Mick. See more »

Goofs

Carnival is supposedly taking place on a warm summer night judging from characters' lightweight costumes but actors' frosty breath can be seen in a number of shots. See more »

Quotes

Portia: [Spoken to Willie in the barber shop in an attempt to embarrass her father] Father would do anything for you now... now when it's too late!
Willie: Portia, that ain't no way to talk to the Doc. We got to live together now.
Portia: [Sarcastically] Oh, yes, just a big happy family!
Doctor Copeland: [to Portia, humiliated and wanting to leave] You drive Willie home.
Portia: [Bitterly] Well, what's the matter, Father? Am I embarrassing you in front of your friend? Oh, you don't have to feel he's so much better than you - after all, you're ...
See more »


Soundtracks

Symphony #47 in C Major, 'Jupiter,' K 551
(uncredited)
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1788)
[Heard at concert in movie theater and on record Singer gives to Mick]
See more »

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User Reviews

Sensitive, emotional, beautifully acted
28 July 2001 | by (Los Angeles, Calif.) – See all my reviews

This is a sensitively-made picture by all involved, with especially moving performances by Arkin and Locke, both of whom were Oscar-nominated. I saw it recently at a screening which was attended by Locke, McCann, Keach, and director Robert Ellis Miller. (The widow of cinematographer James Wong Howe was there, too, as the screening was part of a tribute to the great cameraman.)

After the screening, Keach told Miller that the movie had aged "like a fine wine." I think that's true. While the music and some aspects of the shooting style have dated (e.g., there are several zooms), the emotions of the story have not. This is a quite absorbing and affecting movie, and Arkin is simply astonishing in the way he is able to emote so much without uttering a word.

However, this movie overall feels good more in the way that a novel feels good, rather than the way that an originally-written movie does. I believe it has to do with the structure of the story, which is episodic and delves into several characters' points of view without a truly unifying visual thread. In other words, it feels literary. (This is analagous to movie adaptations of plays suffering from "staginess," which they almost always do. The problem is not as common with novel adaptations, but it still happens. Even "To Kill a Mockingbird" suffers somewhat from this problem.)

Still, the film is beautifully shot by the great James Wong Howe, and again, the performances overcome the inherent script problems to make this a satisfying experience.


24 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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