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The Grass Harp
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The Grass Harp (1995) More at IMDbPro »

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The Grass Harp -- Based on Truman Capote's bittersweet memoir, this often-witty coming-of-age drama looks at a young man growing up with an unusual family in the deep south in the 1940s.
The Grass Harp -- After his mother's death, Collin Fenwick goes to live with his father's cousins, the wealthy, avaricious...


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Down 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Truman Capote (novel)
Stirling Silliphant (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Grass Harp on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 October 1996 (USA) See more »
Love is a chain of love... as nature is a chain of life. See more »
After his mother's death, Collin Fenwick goes to live with his father's cousins, the wealthy, avaricious... See more » | Add synopsis »
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User Reviews:
A Touching Drama From Truman Capote See more (23 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Piper Laurie ... Dolly Talbo

Sissy Spacek ... Verena Talbo

Walter Matthau ... Judge Charlie Cool

Edward Furlong ... Collin Fenwick

Nell Carter ... Catherine Creek

Jack Lemmon ... Dr. Morris Ritz

Mary Steenburgen ... Sister Ida

Sean Patrick Flanery ... Riley Henderson

Joe Don Baker ... Sheriff Junius Candle

Charles Durning ... Rev. Buster

Roddy McDowall ... Amos Legrand
Grayson Fricke ... Young Collin

Scott Wilson ... Eugene Fenwick

Bonnie Bartlett ... Mrs. Buster

Mia Kirshner ... Maude Riordan
Adam Crosby ... Little Homer Honey

Doris Roberts ... Mrs. Richards

Nora Dunfee ... Mrs. Peters

Ray McKinnon ... Charlie Cool Jr

Veronica Lauren ... Young Maude
Danny Nelson ... Doc Carter
Rebecca Koon ... Macy Wheeler
Michele Bauer ... Martha Cool

Charles Matthau ... Barbershop Regular

Alex Van ... Big Eddie Stover

Emilie Jacobs ... Elizabeth Henderson
Marc McPherson ... Hotel Manager
Elizabeth 'Boo' Gilder ... Snot Nose Date
Brad Bulger ... Date
Martha M. Elcan ... Cheap Customer (as Marty Elcan)
Richie Dye ... Jack Mill
James Michael McDougal ... Ray Oliver (as J. Michael McDougal)
Rosa Tucker ... Texaco

Jenjer Vick Robin ... Mamie Curtis (as Jenjer Vick)

Margaret Scarborough ... Flo Johnson

Boyd Gaines ... Narrator
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wade Woods ... Man at Revival (uncredited)

Directed by
Charles Matthau 
Writing credits
Truman Capote (novella)

Stirling Silliphant (screenplay) and
Kirk Ellis (screenplay)

Produced by
John Blosdale .... associate producer
Richard Connor .... associate producer
James T. Davis .... producer
John Davis .... producer
Martha M. Elcan .... associate producer (as Martha Elcan)
Kirk Ellis .... co-producer
Solomon J. LeFlore .... executive producer
Brick Mason .... associate producer
Charles Matthau .... producer
Michael Mendelsohn .... executive producer
Stirling Silliphant .... co-producer
Laura Sutton .... associate producer
Jerry Tokofsky .... producer
John Winfield .... executive producer
Susan Gee .... associate producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Patrick Williams 
Cinematography by
John A. Alonzo 
Film Editing by
Sidney Levin 
Carroll Timothy O'Meara  (as C. Timothy O'Meara)
Casting by
Steve Brooksbank 
Shay Griffin 
Mary Jo Slater 
Production Design by
Paul Sylbert 
Art Direction by
Chris Gorak 
Stan Jolley 
Set Decoration by
Daniel Loren May  (as Dan May)
Costume Design by
Albert Wolsky 
Makeup Department
Lee Ann Brittenham .... assistant hair stylist (as Lee Brittenham)
Terry Harper Dillard .... assistant hair stylist
Bob Harper .... makeup artist
Sally J. Harper .... hair stylist (as Sally Harper)
Linda Melazzo .... makeup artist: Walter Matthau
Rita Troy .... assistant makeup artist
Production Management
James T. Davis .... unit production manager
Katie Willard Troebs .... production supervisor
Lisa Yesko .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Martha M. Elcan .... first assistant director (as Marty Elcan)
Todd Y. Murata .... dga trainee (as Todd Murata)
Eric Wall .... second assistant director
Art Department
Ron Abbott .... carpenter
John Balling .... scenic charge
Richard Baum .... property master (as Rich Baum)
Randy Brewer .... lead person
Jayne Browning .... painter
Mike Charbonneau .... carpenter foreman
Harold Collins .... construction coordinator
Joseph Timothy Conway .... on-set dresser
Glenn Fendley .... set dresser
Chris Gorak .... set designer
Herb Jorgensen .... carpenter
Kristina Kilpe .... assistant propmaster
Cheryl Lindsey .... art production assistant
Brick Mason .... storyboard artist
Elizabeth Meyerson .... art department coordinator
Jason Miller .... carpenter
Dane Moore .... carpenter
John Ogonoski .... carpenter
Gary Oldknow .... set dresser
Alice Persons .... assistant propmaster
Eloise Crane Stammerjohn .... buyer
Ron Wells .... carpenter
Christopher Scheetz .... construction foreman (uncredited)
Sound Department
Craig Clark .... adr supervisor
Craig Clark .... sound supervisor
Joy Ealy .... sound assistant
Thom 'Coach' Ehle .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Mike Goodman .... additional adr supervisor
Mike Goodman .... adr editor
Larry Hoki .... sound recordist
David J. Hudson .... sound re-recording mixer
Bill King .... boom operator
Bob King .... cable person
Clark King .... sound mixer
Joe Kramer .... sound editor
Colin C. Mouat .... sound editor (as Colin Mouat)
Howard Neiman .... sound editor
Jeffrey Perkins .... supervising re-recording mixer
Mark Relyea .... sound assistant
Tom Ruff .... adr engineer (as Tom W. Ruff)
Robert R. Rutledge .... foley artist
Allan Schultz .... co-sound supervisor
Allan Schultz .... sound editor
Peter Siciliano .... foley recordist
Edward M. Steidele .... foley artist
Deborah Willard .... sound editor
Gary Coppola .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Gary Pilkinton .... special effects assistant
Kathleen Tonkin .... special effects foreman
Robert Vasquez .... special effects
Robert Vazquez .... special effects supervisor
Tal Wallace .... special effects propmaker
John Moio .... stunt coordinator
Lonnie R. Smith Jr. .... stunt coordinator (as Lonnie Smith)
Camera and Electrical Department
Amy Alarian .... electrician
Richard Alarian .... gaffer
Rikki Alarian .... electrician
Nick Arnds .... grip
Gary A. Beaird .... key grip (as Gary Beaird)
Casey Campbell .... electrician
Jesse Chavez .... dolly grip
Joseph Dianda .... best boy grip (as Joey Dianda)
Steven A. Hughes .... best boy electric (as Steve Hughes)
Mark Karen .... camera operator
Michael Stewart Maahs .... grip (as Mike Maahs)
Shawn Murphy .... electrician
Gary Oldknow .... grip
Rodney Sandoval .... camera loader
Gregory W. Smith .... first assistant camera (as Greg Smith)
Jorge Sánchez .... second assistant camera
Merie Weismiller Wallace .... still photographer
David P. Shannon .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Linda Christman .... casting assistant
Mary Lynn Henry .... casting: New York
Debbie Savitt .... casting associate
Octavia Spencer .... extras casting
Barbara Bartenes-Wulff .... casting assistant (uncredited)
Paige Wilbanks .... extras casting assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Patricia K. Armagast .... head seamstress (as Patricia Armagast)
Susan Kowarsh .... assistant costume designer
Jennifer Lax .... wardrobe supervisor (as Jenny Lax)
Susan MacLaren .... set costumer
Robert Q. Mathews .... costume supervisor: men
Bob Matthews .... wardrobe supervisor
Amanda Zenil .... set costumer
Editorial Department
Sam Citron .... first assistant editor
Jeremy Milton .... second assistant editor
Ray Morfino .... color timer
David Parmenter .... negative cutter
Joseph Jett Sally .... first assistant editor
Ewa Zbroniec .... second assistant editor
Music Department
Martin Blasick .... source music producer (as Marty Blasick)
Sandy DeCrescent .... music contractor
Sue Fink .... vocal coach
Paul Fried .... musician: flute solo
Michael Kelley .... executive soundtrack producer
Shawn Murphy .... score mixer
Charles Pollard .... score engineer
Allan K. Rosen .... music editor
Patty von Arx .... music editor
Marty Wekser .... executive soundtrack producer
Diane DeLouise Wessel .... music supervisor
Transportation Department
William Baker .... driver
Rudy Beilicke .... driver
Emmett Burton .... picture car coordinator
Robert Holland .... driver
John Manning .... driver
Ken Nevin .... transportation coordinator (as Ray Nevin)
Joe Price .... driver
Teddy J. Ritchie .... driver
Hal Shelton .... driver
Jimmy Smeraglia .... driver
Hank Van Apeldoorn .... transportation captain
Keith West .... driver
Joe T. Woodard .... driver (as Joe Woodard)
Ricky Woodard .... driver
George Yarbrough .... transportation co-captain
Other crew
Catherine Battistone .... walla group
Michele Bauer .... studio teacher
Bob Bergen .... walla group (as Robert Bergen)
Sue Carter .... medic
Tim Crone .... animal wrangler
Tracey Crosby .... production secretary
James M. Crumley Jr. .... set production assistant (as Jamie Crumley)
Alex Daniels .... walla group
Cathy Dunkley .... assistant: Charles Matthau
Mick Fasano .... cook
Nina Foch .... consultant
Matt Frazier .... set production assistant
Carla Fry .... production executive
Philippe Gallichet .... chef
Patti Hawn .... publicist
Bridget Hoffman .... walla group (as Ruby Marlowe)
Ira Hurvitz .... script supervisor
Richard Jiminez .... cook
Amy Labowitz .... production executive
Lydia Lipatan-Sarmiento .... assistant accountant
Marilyn Madderom .... walla group
Alex Matcham .... production executive
Craig A. McCraw .... location manager (as Craig McCraw)
Geralyn Miller .... production accountant (as Geralyn McGah-Miller)
Cleve Nettles .... assistant to producer
Rebecca Ollinger .... location manager
Ben Ormand .... production assistant
Thomas Parris .... production assistant (as Tom Parris)
Senia Phillips .... animal wrangler
Russell H. Potter V .... office production assistant
Patricia Sammons .... craft service
Brie San Martino .... assistant coordinator
Burton Sharp .... adr group coordinator
Burton Sharp .... walla group
Ron Steadman .... set production assistant
Sheila Stroup .... animal wrangler
Laura Summer .... walla group
Michael Swafford .... first assistant accountant
Harold Uhl .... key set production assistant
Steve Uhl .... set production assistant
Frank Umbro Sr. .... accordion instructor
Nadia Venesse .... dialect coach
Elizabeth Vincent .... accounting clerk
John Woodson .... dailies sync
Jeff Yesko .... walla group (as Jeffrey Scott Yesko)
Merry Lee Traum .... assistant: Piper Laurie (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG for mild language and thematic elements
107 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Final filmed screenplay written by Stirling Silliphant.See more »
Tommy DeVito:[after Henry, Jimmy, and Tommy beat Billy Bates they start placing him on a couple of table cloths. Tommy turns to Henry] I didn't wanna get blood on your floor.See more »
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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
A Touching Drama From Truman Capote, 5 August 2005
Author: theowinthrop from United States

THE GRASS HARP was a novel by Truman Capote, based (in part) on his a youth, living with a pair of aunts in a southern town. Here his narrator hero is orphaned at an early age, and he is raised by his father's cousins (Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie). Spacek is the actual head of the family, running four prosperous businesses in the small town, such as the town department store and town hotel (complete with Presidential suite). She is a humorless, hard working woman, as opposed to her sister, who is a loving, free spirited type, who (with her friend and assistant (Nell Carter) collects herbs for a patent medicine remedy for "dropsy". Edwin Furlong (and, earlier, Grayson Frick) play the hero of the film, Collin (the narration is by Boyd Gaines). The hero quickly finds himself in love with Laurie, and just respectful towards Spacek. As he grows up, he finds himself defending Laurie's reputation (she is seen as quite eccentric). The town people also fear Spacek, but rather openly dislike her.

Walter Matthau is retired Judge Cool, a sensible elderly man who "good" people consider a nut (he openly admits that there was nothing wrong with a true love affair between a white man and an African-American woman which led to the white man being run out of town). Matthau is having problems in his home with an unsympathetic grown son and the son's wife. Matthau's wife has died years before. Others in this well cast film include Jack Lemmon as a Dr. Ritt from Chicago, whom Spacek brings back home - and whom accidentally sets in motion the delayed rebellion of Laurie and the others against Spacek's stiff and respectable regime. Joe Don Baker plays the local chicken rancher/part-time sheriff (who hates having to cow-tow to Spacek). Charles Durning is the local minister, who is out for only respectable religious leaders (with Bonnie Bartlett as his equally stuffy wife). Mary Steenburgen is the religious threat - an unmarried mother of twelve who has a mobile revival tent in the back country, but whom is pretty likable for all one's questions about her revivalism. Sean Patrick Flannery is Riley, a young man who lives unconventionally, but whom turns out to be a pretty good friend to Collin. Roddy McDowall (in one of his last roles) plays Amos, the local barber.

Basically Capote uses his characters to punch holes in what "nice, conventional" small town people believe is proper behavior. Spacek is the leader of these people, who believe in organized Christianity, hard work and business, and straight-laced morality. Laurie, Matthau, Carter, Flannery, Steenburgen, and Furlong are all believers in doing what is natural, and from the heart. So as they begin working together they become a model and a danger for the "nice people". But as the tale progresses, the nice people find that what they believe in does not emotionally satisfy them. Indeed Spacek suffers several losses in the course of the film that she never expected.

Charles Matthau, Walter's son, directed this (very nicely - it is one of the best ensemble movies of recent years). It was also a rarity in the 1990s decade of Matthau-Lemmon films. Whereas GRUMPY OLD MEN, GRUMPIER OLD MEN, OUT TO SEA, and THE ODD COUPLE II were all comedies, this film is dramatic and the two actors only shared one scene (with Roddy McDowall in his barber shop) in the film. Also, Lemmon's character is less likable than usual in this film.

The title, by the way, refers to a statement by Laurie's character about how the grass gives off a music like a harp, which is actually the voices of all the people who ever inhabited the earth. It becomes a running metaphor in the film up to the conclusion.

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