6.9/10
287
6 user 3 critic

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 4 June 1972 (USA)
A couple uses extremely black comedy to survive taking care of a daughter who is nearly completely brain dead. They take turns doing the daughter's voice and stare into the eyes of death ... See full summary »

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(play), (screenplay)
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3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Bri
...
...
...
Pam
Joan Hickson ...
Elizabeth Robillard ...
Jo
...
Doctor
Fanny Carby ...
Nun
Constance Chapman ...
Moonrocket Lady
Elizabeth Tyrrell ...
Midwife
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Storyline

A couple uses extremely black comedy to survive taking care of a daughter who is nearly completely brain dead. They take turns doing the daughter's voice and stare into the eyes of death and emotional trauma with a humor that hides their pain. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

4 June 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Joe Egg  »

Company Credits

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of two collaborations of actor Alan Bates and actress Janet Suzman. The films are Nijinsky (1980) (the second) and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972) (the first) - the two movies being made and released around eight years apart. See more »

Quotes

Bri: When the kitten was born, Sheila wanted to call him Dick but I drew the line there. Well, I mean standing on the front steps late at night shouting "Dick! Dick!", I might have got killed in the rush!
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User Reviews

 
Would this film be made today?
1 November 2010 | by (Salisbury, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This film is both shocking and daring. It is also very human and in the face of a seemingly impossible domestic scenario, how a very ordinary married couple cope with their cerebral palsy afflicted daughter. Or not cope. And how friends and an archetypal in-law all giving their best intentions on just what is best.

The sexual fantasies often seem out-of-place, though whilst not crude, maybe are intended to shock. But as Sheila, the mother is utterly devoted to the unfortunate 'Joe Egg' with the never-ending ritual of her care, Brian finds all channels of marital coupling closed to him.

It is not a particularly enjoyable film. Nor a worthy one, in that it neither champions any cause, nor knocks any, either. Maybe we expect ourselves to be upset or feel awkward about little Josephine, the child.

But with astonishing performances from Alan Bates and Janet Suzman as the parents, who also play many of the key supporting parts too, we are distracted by their strange fantasies and antics as they themselves become the troubled and bizarre characters, not the subject and cause of their anxieties. The child remains a passive bystander witnessing (or not) the unravelling pantomime around her. Balancing the bizarre is the everyday reality of life so that it doesn't all get too ridiculous.

As it was made almost 40 years ago, it does seem astonishingly brave to even have been thought suitable for a film, back then, though it was based on Peter Nicol's own stage play. Hence there is a large element of admiration whilst viewing and an acceptance almost, in its sheer audacity that there will be parts which won't sit easily with everyone. Thankfully there are no swelling of strings, either orchestrally or of the heart as sentimentality would totally undermine the whole film - we are witnesses rather than being asked to make a judgement or opinion. Though not a great film, it displays both directorial flair and imagination. And very British, though at the start of the 70's we didn't generally make good films. This one is and one that is certainly memorable - and for one on such a contentious issue, memorable to the good where it so easily could all have been a horrible mistake.


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