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The Dead (1987)

PG | | Drama | 18 December 1987 (USA)
Gabriel Conroy and wife Greta attend an early January dinner with friends at the home of his spinster aunts, an evening which results in an epiphany for both of them.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (story "Dubliners")
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Helena Carroll ...
Cathleen Delany ...
Rachael Dowling ...
...
Miss Furlong (as Katherine O'Toole)
Bairbre Dowling ...
Miss Higgins
Maria Hayden ...
Miss O'Callaghan
Cormac O'Herlihy ...
Mr. Kerrigan
...
Mr. Bergin
...
...
...
...
...
Mr. Grace (as Seán McClory)
Frank Patterson ...
Marie Kean ...
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Storyline

John Huston's last film is a labor of love at several levels: an adaptation of perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English-language literature by one of Huston's favorite authors, James Joyce; a love letter to the land of his ancestors and the country where his children grew up; and the chance to work with his screenwriter son Tony and his actress daughter Anjelica. The film is delicate and unhurried, detailing an early January dinner at the house of two spinster musician sisters and their niece in turn-of-the-century Ireland, attended by friends and family. Among the visiting attendees are the sisters' nephew Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta. The evening's reminiscences bring up melancholy memories for Gretta concerning her first, long-lost love when she was a girl in rural Galway. Her recounting of this tragic love to Gabriel brings him to an epiphany: he learns the difference between mere existence and living. The all-Irish cast and careful period detail give the piece richness... Written by Russ W. <russwlkr@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A vast, merry, and uncommon tale of love.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Huston's The Dead  »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,370,078 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Gabriel Conroy: [voice over] One by one, we're all becoming shades. Better to pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. How long you locked away in your heart the image of your lover's eyes when he told you that he did not wish to live. I've never felt that way myself towards any woman, but I know that such a feeling must be love. Think of all those who ever were, back to the start of time. And me, transient as they, flickering out ...
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Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #7.5 (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

"For He's a Jolly God Fellow' (uncredited)
Traditional American and British song
Sung by Donal McCan and guests to his aunts and cousin at Christmas table
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User Reviews

 
THe crowning of a career
27 June 2001 | by See all my reviews

John Huston was seriously ill when he made his final achievement,and it's thoroughly his testament:uncompromising,difficult ,a thousand miles away from crazes and fashions,it will stand as the best "last film" you can ever dream of.A very austere screenplay,no action,no real hero,but a group of people coping with the vanity of life,the fleeting years and death.The party doesn't delude people for long.Admittedly,warmth and affection emanate from the songs and the meal,complete with turkey and pudding.But the passage of time has partly ruined Julia's voice,first crack in the mirror.Then the camera leaves the room where the guests are gathered and searches the old lady's bedroom.For sure,hers seems to have been a happy life,but it's a life inexorably coming to an end-A shot shows towards the end of the movie Julia on her future deathbed-.Maybe an unfulfilled life,because she remained a spinster,with no children to carry on .Only some poor things,yellowish photographs,bibelots and trinklets.... But are a human being's hopes and dreams all fulfilled?Look at Gretta.She 's a married woman ,about thirty-five,she's still beautiful and healthy but she knows something is broken.What Julia is today,she will be tomorrow,that's why,in her stream of consciousness,she goes back to her past,only to find out how harrowing her memories are: a young man committed suicide for her,a symbol of her youth now waning.The final monologue,if we listen closely to it,involves us all in this eternal tragedy,the doomed to failure human condition,John Huston's masterly lesson.


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