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A Delicate Balance (1973) More at IMDbPro »

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A Delicate Balance -- An old married couple prefer to be alone. Each time someone visits them, their "delicate balance" is threatened. The limit is reached when well-meaning friends Harry and Edna show up unexpectedly and threaten to stay forever.


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Edward Albee (play)
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Release Date:
24 June 1975 (Portugal) See more »
The sister who drank too much. The daughter who divorced too much. They're all there when Tobias and Agnes have their little get-together and tear-apart.
A well-to-do Connecticut family is upended when the grown daughter's godparents, seized by a nameless terror, decide they've come to live with them. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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Nominated for Golden Globe. See more »
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User Reviews:
Fierce Females, Gentle Men See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)

Katharine Hepburn ... Agnes

Paul Scofield ... Tobias

Lee Remick ... Julia

Kate Reid ... Claire

Joseph Cotten ... Harry

Betsy Blair ... Edna

Directed by
Tony Richardson 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Edward Albee  play

Produced by
Ely A. Landau .... producer
Robert A. Goldston .... supervising producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
David Watkin 
Film Editing by
John Victor-Smith 
Art Direction by
David Brockhurst 
Costume Design by
Margaret Furse 
Makeup Department
Peter Robb-King .... makeup artist
Production Management
Zelda Barron .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Andrew Grieve .... assistant director
Terry Hodgkinson .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Bryn Siddall .... property buyer
Sound Department
Gerry Humphreys .... sound re-recording mixer
John Ireland .... dialogue editor
Simon Kaye .... sound recordist
Camera and Electrical Department
Nobby Cross .... gaffer
Roy Rodhouse .... best boy
Other crew
Jonathan Burrows .... production executive
Kay Fenton .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
133 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Kate Reid replaced Kim Stanley during rehearsals due to Stanley's erratic behavior. Reid would also play roles for which Stanley was original choice in This Property Is Condemned (1966) and Atlantic City (1980).See more »


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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Fierce Females, Gentle Men, 7 October 1999
Author: Nicky-43 from USA

Director Tony Richardson's presentation of "A Delicate Balance" could be dismissed for it's lack of edginess and it's gentrified (albeit screwed up) characters. It is also what critics would call a "stagy" film. Yet it is redeemed from this dour damnation because of Albee's wonderful way with words, the rich cinematography, and exceptional acting, exceptionally well cast: Katherine Hepburn, Paul Scofield, Lee Remick, Joseph Cotton.

For those looking for a violent film -- not in the form of bullets or explosions -- but of verbal surgical strikes, this is it. Edward Albee's dialogue provides all the female (yes, this would be considered a "woman's movie") protagonists and antagonists (one wonders at times which is which) a laser like aim against their primary targets: other women. And it is done under a guise of "civility"; sometimes, with a smile.

The stand-out among these veteran actors is Kate Reid, who plays Claire, the alcoholic in-law who at times gives the most voice to the story, set amid a dysfunctional Connecticut family. But even her performance can't out weigh the constant barrage of verbal cross-fire from her friends and in-laws. Yet the twist here is that the aggressors are the women, while the men attempt to keep the peace as best they can -- only firing back if attacked by the females.

This isn't a film for everyone; it's definitely the stuff of classic drawing room (psycho) drama. But for those who can appreciate consummate acting armed with deft dialogue, make yourself a nice cup of tea -- spiked with a shot or two of brandy -- and check this out.

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