Great Performances

Heartbreak House (16 Apr. 1985)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
8.5
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Re-creation of the Broadway production of George Bernard Shaw's 1920 comedy of manners.The troubles of England are parallel with the domestic troubles of Captain Shotover's household.

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(adaptation), (play)
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Title: Heartbreak House (16 Apr 1985)

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George Martin ...
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Jan Miner ...
Remak Ramsay ...
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Bill Moor ...
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Storyline

Re-creation of the Broadway production of George Bernard Shaw's 1920 comedy of manners.The troubles of England are parallel with the domestic troubles of Captain Shotover's household.

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filmed play | based on play | See All (2) »


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16 April 1985 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

First shown in the U.S. in 1984, on "Broadway on Showtime", a series once telecast on the Showtime cable channel. See more »

Connections

Version of BBC Play of the Month: Heartbreak House (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bitter WWI recriminations leavened by Shavian style and great performances
13 September 2009 | by (Bolton, Ct./Jersey City, NJ; United States) – See all my reviews

GBS was in a bitter mood in 1919 when he sprang back from the English public outrage at his objection to the waste and muddled politics of World War I with this brilliant allegory of disintegrating British and Continental society having lost its way and was facing the catastrophe of a war that reflected its own lost values. He didn't let his personal disillusionment detract from his dissection of his topic with some of his most fascinating, conflicted characters. The too seldom produced HEARTBREAK HOUSE is one of his masterpieces.

In this particularly brilliant production, first staged at Broadway's Circle In The Square Theatre in 1983 & 4, perennial Shaw interpreter (MAJOR BARBARA and PYGMALION's scion MY FAIR LADY on film and stage along with CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA and this HEARTBREAK HOUSE) Rex Harrison* (Captain Shotover, captaining his seaside estate onto the rocks - he keeps a supply of dynamite in the gravel pit near the mansion) leads a cast that included Rosemary Harris* (Hesione Hushabye), Amy Irving (in her Broadway Debut as Ellie Dunn), Dana Ivey* (Lady Utterword), Jan Minor (Nurse Guinness) and Bill Moore (Randall Utterword) to six Tony Nominations (* plus Costumes and Best Revival).

It is inexplicable why this superb Showtime production, aired a year after the Broadway revival closed has not been issued on DVD. There is an alternative HEARTBREAK HOUSE available in a Box Set of BBC Television productions of Shaw plays, but to American eyes, this starry Broadway cast and production (under Anthony Page's direction - he also directed the Showtime version) is not surpassed. Three of the male actors from the Broadway cast (Philip Bosco*, Stephen McHattie and William Prince) were unavailable for the taping, but were ably replaced respectively by George Martin as Boss Mangan, Remak Ramsay as Hector Hushabye and Tom Aldredge as Mazzini Dunn.

With the usual Shavian tangle of societal striving with strong women confronting men firm in their opinions and making us smile at their predicaments while we think about our own - all while waiting for the wartime Zeppelins to arrive with their loads of overt destruction, this HEARTBREAK HOUSE may never supplant PYGMALION, ARMS AND THE MAN, CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA, his Nobel Prize winning SAINT JOAN, MAJOR BARBARA, MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION or even THE APPLE CART, THE MILLIONAIRESS or ANDROCLES AND THE LION as Shaw's most popular works, but this superb production makes a strong case that it should be in the pantheon of his most respected.


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