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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 »



(play), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nell Potts ...
Roberta Wallach ...
Richard Venture ...
Carolyn Coates ...
Mrs. McKay
Will Hare ...
Junk Man
Estelle Omens ...
Jess Osuna ...
Ellen Dano ...
Janice Vickery
Lynne Rogers ...
Miss Hanley
Roger Serbagi ...
John Lehne ...
Apartment Manager
Michael Kearney ...
Chris Burns


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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The Paul Newman Production of the 1971 Pulitzer Prize winning play See more »




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Release Date:

30 May 1973 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Influência dos Raios Gama no Comportamento das Margaridas  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


Beatrice: Matilda, would you go get your sister over there, please, before she gets pregnant?
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User Reviews

A tribute to Paul Newman
9 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Released by 20th Century Fox in December of 1972, Paul Newman's sensitive screen version of Paul Zindel's Pulitzer-Prize winning play has been unjustly forgotten. A showcase for wife Joanne Woodward who gives a bravura performance as Beatrice aka "Betty the Loon". In addition to Woodward, there are excellent performances from 2 second generation actors: Nell Potts and Robert Wallach as her daughters Matilda and Ruth, and Judith Lowry as "Nanny" who manages to create a character without uttering a single word. Newman, the 4 actresses, and a well-chosen supporting cast succeed in making the crux of the film funny, touching and believable. This film, and Rachel,Rachel(68)are tributes to director Newman. Marigolds is not available on VHS or DVD. I saw it at the Brooklyn Academy of Music(BAM) as part of a retrospective tribute to Paul Newman the actor and director.

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