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

PG | | Drama | 30 May 1973 (France)
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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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
...
Nanny
...
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:

30 May 1973 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Influência dos Raios Gama no Comportamento das Margaridas  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Certain dialog from Paul Zindel's play remained in the script for the movie. Even though the movie was filmed in Bridgeport, Connecticut, certain references to the location of the play, which takes place in Staten Island, New York (Zindel's hometown) remain. Ruth mentions "Prince's Bay" when reading a classified ad about some property for sale, and Matilda tells her mother that a photographer is going to take pictures of the Science Fair finalists for "The Advance". Prince's Bay is a neighborhood located on the South Shore of Staten Island, and the Staten Island Advance is the local newspaper. See more »

Goofs

When Beatrice arrives at her sister-in-law Caroline's house, we see Caroline and her three bridge-playing friends in one shot. Later, when Beatrice yells at her brother-in-law through the bathroom door, we see the three ladies a second time in a reaction shot. Only one of them appears in both shots, although wearing a different outfit each time. The other two card-playing friends were played by different extras in each shot. See more »

Quotes

Beatrice: I'm not exactly happy about you standing around, discussing testicles with this Chris Burns person, either!
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User Reviews

a very bitter pill that won't go down with ease.
15 April 2004 | by (fabulous Las Vega$!) – See all my reviews

The old saw "there are no guarantees in life" is given a sad example in this film, wherein we find Joanne Woodward, widowed mother of two, slipping through the cracks of her own life with her daughters in tow. Through a bleary haze of booze-soaked self-defeat, she commands change in her life but is unwilling(and/or possibly unable)to grab the reins. Woodward's performance is sterling...unrestrained, though not at all hammy. Her character is initially entirely unlikable, though in the end, she has found a place in the pity-corner of our hearts...she is a fragile and vulnerable soul who has tragically broken into many virulent and dejected pieces.

For people who enjoy strong character studies, THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS is a dexterously directed must-see mini-classic. Understand, though, that it is quite emotionally daunting, and may touch a bit too close to home for certain viewers...a stark and brutally honest portraiture of human wreckage and its many damaging effects. Beneath the downcast surface, however, lies a glint of optimism in the form of the younger daughter's quiet perseverance...although she suffers, she has a strong constitution and will likely overcome her emotionally malnourished upbringing.

Stellar cinema. 8.5/10


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