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Promises in the Dark (1979)

PG | | Drama | 3 April 1980 (Australia)
Numbed by career demands and a recent divorce, Dr. Alexandra Kendall (Marsha Mason) hides behind a hard shell of professional detatchment - until she treats Buffy Koenig (Kathleen Beller), ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr. Jim Sandman
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Dr. Walter McInerny
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Dr. Frucht
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Nurse Farber
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Dr. Blankenship
Arthur Rosenberg ...
...
Miss Pritikin
Robert Doran ...
...
Sue
Alexandra Johnson ...
Ellie
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Storyline

Numbed by career demands and a recent divorce, Dr. Alexandra Kendall (Marsha Mason) hides behind a hard shell of professional detatchment - until she treats Buffy Koenig (Kathleen Beller), a dying 17-year-old cancer patient who reawakens Kendall to life's possibilities. Soon the courageous girl's condition takes a downturn - and the physician must carefully, even agonizingly, weigh the consequences of keeping a promise she made to Buffy. Jerome Hellman, producer of such award-winning movies as Midnight Cowboy, Coming Home and The Mosquito Coast, makes his directorial debut on this frank, finely crafted film casting an unflinching yet compassionate eye on illness. Full of memorable performances, Promises in the Dark moves, challenges - and inspires you to live life more fully.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cancer | See All (1) »

Taglines:

A remarkable film about the most disturbing subject of all.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

3 April 1980 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Obietnica ciemnosci  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the only film that Producer Jerome Hellman ever directed. See more »

Goofs

When Ned Beatty rushes in to put the girl on oxygen during her coughing episode. He opens the valve that controls flow from the tank to the regulator. Once that valve is open even a little the full pressure from the tank is then at the regulator. He kept going back to that valve and turning it. That would do nothing to regulate the flow of oxygen to the patient. He never touched the regulator knob which is the only way to adjust the amount of oxygen getting to the patient. Oxygen flow was not seen in the humidifier (the bottle of water at the end of the regulator). The oxygen tank was probably an empty prop tank. And the sound of oxygen flowing was probably a sound effect. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Alexandra Kendall: You are asking for yes and no answers to essay type questions
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Soundtracks

DUST IN THE WIND
Written by Kerry Livgren (uncredited)
Performed by Kansas
Courtesy of Kirshner Records
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User Reviews

 
Another acting triumph for Marsha Mason...
25 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

A teenage girl is treated for a leg injury, but it's soon discovered she has an aggressive form of cancer, which begins taking its toll--physically and emotionally--on the victim, her family, and the female doctor who forms a bond with the youngster. Kathleen Beller plays the unfortunate girl with a mix of belligerence and brashness that is, quite simply, off-putting; her straight-forward cynicism is certainly convincing, and it may be exactly how many cancer patients react when they discover there's very little time left, but it makes for a strident central character who doesn't do much to involve the audience. However, as the doctor, Marsha Mason just about saves the day with a wonderfully natural, sensitive and grounded performance. Given great dialogue by screenwriter Loring Mandel, Mason is able to revel in telling dramatic scenes that evoke whole lives (such as when she talks about her ex-husband, a movie-junkie who could sit through a double feature and then come home and watch television). Mason never sermonizes or stands on a soap-box, she is a caring professional who becomes a close friend (and may have become a mentor) to this girl. The film is occasionally pedestrian or heavy-handed--particularly when focusing on Beller--and that woeful title didn't help it at the box-office. Yet it is strengthened considerably by Mason, one of the finest actresses of the 1970s. **1/2 from ****


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