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The Whales of August (1987)

Summer people in Maine: things are changing. Whales no longer pass close to the shore as they did during the youth of two elderly widowed sisters who have a seaside home where they've ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Frank Grimes ...
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Tisha Sterling ...
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Frank Pitkin ...
Mike Bush ...
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Storyline

Summer people in Maine: things are changing. Whales no longer pass close to the shore as they did during the youth of two elderly widowed sisters who have a seaside home where they've summered for 50 years. Libby is blind, contrary, and seemingly getting ready to die. Sarah is attentive to her sister, worried about continuing to care for her, and half interested in an old Russian aristocrat who fishes from their shore. It's the eve of Sarah's 46th wedding anniversary. The Russian offers some fish he's caught, Sarah invites him to dinner, and Libby gets her back up. Sarah wonders if it isn't time to sell the place and find a home for Libby. What alternatives do old people have? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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The Screen's Immortals... A movie you'll never forget.

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Drama

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Release Date:

19 August 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

As Baleias de Agosto  »

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Box Office

Gross:

$1,338,198 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Lillian Gish's final film before her death on February 27, 1993 at the age of 99, ending her 75 year film career which began with An Unseen Enemy (1912). See more »

Goofs

When Libby takes her souvenirs box from the vanity drawer, she picks up the box with her right hand and closes the drawer with the left one. In the following shot she is holding the box with her left hand. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Libby Strong: Can you see them?
Sarah Webber: The whales have all gone.
Libby Strong: You can't never tell. You can't never tell.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Is That All There Is? (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Music by Haydn Wood
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Lost Breed of Movie
16 August 2002 | by (Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

I'm 22 years old and yet this movie about two elderly sisters and their friends touched my heart deeply.

I must admit before I begin that I am a fan of Bette Davis and Vincent Price, and that Miss Lillian Gish is my all time favorite actress, so my view of this film may be skewed. However, I must admit and admire the sheer artistry of these actors (including the unsung Ann Sothern) and their ability to take a simple story and turn it into an engaging, emotional tour de force film of power and majesty.

Miss Gish was in the twilight of her life in this, her last film, but you could still see the same actress who touched audiences in 1919's "Broken Blossoms"...the same powerful skills which are on display in 1928's "The Wind", and the same quiet dignity portrayed in 1959's "The Night of the Hunter". Her scenes are by far the finest of the movie.

I must respectfully disagree with my fellow reviewers in their dismissal of Bette Davis's performance. Her character was supposed to be hard-headed, mean, and in bad health (why else keep harking on dying?). Bette is all of these things. I could really feel that she WAS Libby. Although her constant yelling of "SAY-rah" was a little annoying, but that's Ms. Davis for you.

Vincent Price was a revelation for those of us who have only seen him as a schlockmiester. His role as the Count, warm, friendly, scared and courtly, was probably the most sympathetic character in the film.

All in all, a touching, beautiful tribute to the legends of the screen and to the movies themselves. A lost breed of film.


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