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The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,137 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 14 critic

From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for ... See full summary »

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Title: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Beatrice
Nell Potts ...
Matilda
Roberta Wallach ...
Ruth
Judith Lowry ...
Nanny
...
Mr. Goodman
Richard Venture ...
Floyd
Carolyn Coates ...
Mrs. McKay
Will Hare ...
Junk Man
Estelle Omens ...
Caroline
Jess Osuna ...
Sonny
Ellen Dano ...
Janice Vickery
Lynne Rogers ...
Miss Hanley
Roger Serbagi ...
Charlie
John Lehne ...
Apartment Manager
Michael Kearney ...
Chris Burns
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Storyline

From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for her life in the classified ads while all about her is the rubble of an unkempt house. All she needs is the right opportunity, she says puffing on a cigarette. Poorly equipped to survive the vagaries of modern life, she has nonetheless always managed to muddle through. Ruth, epileptic and making her way through the rebellious phase of adolescence, seems doomed to make the same mistakes as her mother. Quiet Matilda, on the other hand, seeks refuge in her animals and her schoolwork. "Jesus, don't you hate the world, Matilda?" Beatrice asks her youngest daughter. The title of the film is also the subject of Matilda's science project at school and serves as a metaphor for the way life affects each of us differently -- how some are able to find opportunity in adversity and thrive and how some succumb when ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

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Mother of the Year. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1 February 1974 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play was originally produced in Houston in 1964. The movie version filmed in 1972, directed by Paul Newman and starred his wife, Joanne Woodward , and his daughter Elinor (Nell Potts). Woodward won the award for Best Actress at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival. See more »

Quotes

Matilda: No Mama, I don't hate the world.
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User Reviews

 
intense real life drama
1 January 2005 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

This film captures with unflinching accuracy the anguish caused to a family by a parent with a severe alcohol problem. However alcohol abuse is just one symptom displayed by this particular family unit which is struggling to survive economically disastrous times, from a severely disadvantaged position. The daughter's school science project "The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" mirrors the ongoing American social experiment of economic rationalism.

Joanne Woodward's character Beatrice is not evil, though she does some of the most cruel and demeaning things imaginable to her children. I believe that it's a great credit to both the playwright and director that we are able to develop empathy for her in spite of these actions. Much of what has happened to Beatrice in life has been out of her control, and yet she struggles to support her family and she holds desperately to hope of a highly unlikely avenue of economic escape (an as yet unformulated cheesecake recipe).

This is one of the most demanding, highly impacting and yet compulsive films I've seen. It's a window to the interpersonal relationships of good people who are struggling to respond with vigour to a system that delineates winners and losers.


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