I saw and enjoyed the 1954 version of Clifford Odets play. They had to make Frank Elgin a singer because the legendary crooner and child beater Bing Crosby played him. I prefer this HBO version because it is more faithful to the play and not as melodramatic as the film. Dick Van Dyke, Ken Howard and Faye Dunaway have to basically carry the whole burden but do a remarkable job. Van Dyke admitted that he was an alcoholic at one point in his life (he didn't take his first drink until he was 29. He said "Jack Daniels became my good friend and then turned on me") I know this may sound strange, but I think that helped him with this type of part. Dick is truly one of our great funnymen. His show is a cultural icon. He is also a fine dramatic actor as well. Its a shame that so few have seen that. He played an alcohlic in a tv film called The Morning After which isn't available anywhere and he played in this film and in the Runner Stumbles, yet where are these films? I think taking the melodrama out made this presentation better. Its a shame it isn't out on video.
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