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The Whales of August (1987)

 -  Drama  -  19 August 1987 (France)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,654 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 15 critic

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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Title: The Whales of August (1987)

The Whales of August (1987) on IMDb 7.6/10

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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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

19 August 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

As Baleias de Agosto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,338,198 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

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(TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The buoy that the filmmakers used as a device to transition from scene to scene was not a real buoy, but a prop that was built specifically for the production. The buoy is now on display outside of the Casco Bay Lines Ferry Terminal in Portland, Maine. See more »

Goofs

When the radio (or wireless) is switched on in order for Libby to listen to her favourite programme, the sound of the broadcast is heard immediately as though it were a modern transistor or digital radio. But the film is set in the mid-1950s during the era of valve wireless receivers (see also the prop used in the scene), meaning that the ladies would have to wait for several seconds while the set warms up before the programme could be heard. See more »

Quotes

Libby Strong: Busy, Busy, busy, always busy.
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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

 
Legends and grace!
28 August 2003 | by (Oceanside,Ca.) – See all my reviews

This was the last film of Lillian Gish and it has to be the most graceful exit an actor or actress has ever had. All screen legends should have the dignity of their last film being this touching. This story is about two elderly sisters who are staying in their family cottage on the coast of Maine. Lillian Gish plays Sarah Webber the oldest of the two and she is caring for her sister Libby Strong (Bette Davis) who is blind and maybe in the early stages of senility. They have a neighbor and life long friend in Tisha (Ann Sothern) who suggests to Sarah that she might want to think of selling the old cottage. An acquantance named Mr. Maranov (Vincent Price) asks to fish on their shore but he really is fishing around for a place to live. He is of European nobility and full of stories but he has no money and seems to exist on the kindness of others. Both Sarah and Libby are widows and frequently relate events of the past to each other. The film is directed by Lindsay Anderson who usually makes satirical English films and this was his first American feature. He does an adequate job but he has the sense of just allowing the camera to catch every emotion these actors convey. This is not a great film but it is a very special one. Its a very simple story but thats just fine, something extra special doesn't have to be happening for this film to work. Gish was an amazing 93 when she made this and even at that age she showed she could carry a film and display an incredible amount of energy. She still had that girlish nature about her and her performance is a revelation. Davis was also incredibly strong but she suffered from having to recite some unbelievable dialogue. I didn't quite buy the scene where she comes out of her bedroom saying she had a dream about her and Sarah. But her best moments come in the quieter scenes. When Davis is gazing at nothing and thinking about her future you can only guess what is going on in her head. I thought she was at her best when the camera would just focus in on her face and she didn't speak. These two actress's were very different in their personalities and Davis was very difficult to work with later in her career. But I read a wonderful thing about the wrapping of this film. When the shooting was done Bette walked over to Lillian Gish and gave her a hug of mutual respect. It was high praise to have a cantankerous Bette Davis show that type of respect. Of course, Gish could charm anyone. She spent her career doing it. For you trivia buffs, Ann Sotherns real life daughter Tisha Sterling (Valley of the Giants) plays her as a young woman and Mary Steenburgen plays a young Sarah. This film is a must for all film buffs.


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