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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)

 -  Drama  -  31 July 1968 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,240 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 9 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 14 year-old daughter.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Singer
...
Mick
Laurinda Barrett ...
Mrs. Kelly
...
Blount (as Stacy Keach Jr.)
...
Spiros Antonapoulos
Biff McGuire ...
Mr. Kelly
Percy Rodrigues ...
Doctor Copeland
...
Portia
Jackie Marlowe ...
Bubber
Johnny Popwell ...
Willie
Wayne Smith ...
Harry
Peter Mamakos ...
Spirmonedes
...
Beaudine
Hubert Harper ...
Brannon
Sherri Vise ...
Delores
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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 traumas. The lives of the people Singer touches are varied, linked only by their friendship with Singer. His friends include a deaf-mute, a drunk, a 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

Plot Keywords:

deaf | concert | doctor | lp record | infirmary | See more »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

31 July 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter  »

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

Unable to find white suits large enough to fit Chuck McCann, costumers had him wear old suits previously worn by studio character actor Sydney Greenstreet. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Copeland goes in to see Judge Bronson he enters via a swinging door with a glass panel in it. A member of the camera crew is reflected in the glass as it swings shut. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Copeland: [Hearing that his son-in-law's leg has been amputated] Must be something I can do.
Portia: I'll tell you what you're gonna do. They're sendin' Willie home as soon as he can travel. He's gonna need a lot of care, so we're gonna move him here.
Doctor Copeland: [Visibly distraught] Of course, yes.
Portia: [Bitterly] I'll cook and do the cleanin' and such... but all the time you'll know I'm hating you. I got a feelin' I'm gonna be a very good hater... and if I ain't, I can learn.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Bloodlust! (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

I Can't Afford to Let You Go
Written by Dave Grusin and Hermine Hilton
Performed by Mac Davis (as Scott Davis)
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.


20 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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