8.2/10
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8 user 1 critic

The Phantom of the Open Hearth (1976)

Ralph Parker a teenager in the early 1950's faces his junior prom while fantasying of one Daphne Bigelow his dream date. The ups and downs of life as a teen in a working class neighborhood in the 1950's Midwest.

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Credited cast:
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Barbara Bolton ...
James Bonnell ...
Delivery Man
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Leigh Brown ...
Lovely Arlita
Chris Clark ...
Frank Dolan ...
David Elliot ...
Joey Faye ...
Al
Mary Fenstermacher ...
Teacher
Adam Goodman ...
Peter Graham ...
Budge
David S. Howard ...
Zudock (as David Howard)
Ed Huberman ...
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Ralph Parker a teenager in the early 1950's faces his junior prom while fantasying of one Daphne Bigelow his dream date. The ups and downs of life as a teen in a working class neighborhood in the 1950's Midwest.

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23 December 1976 (USA)  »

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Visions: The Phantom of the Open Hearth  »

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Trivia

Coffey's Market was a real store in Newton Corner. John Coffey, the owner, died from burns suffered in an accidental store fire in the early-1980s. See more »

Connections

Remade as A Christmas Story (1983) See more »

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It's no Christmas Story
19 April 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Yes, this was written and narrated by Jean Shepard years before he did A Christmas Story, yes, it has many of the same characters in a time a few years later than that classic, and yes, it even has a first draft of the leg lamp story that plays such a prominent part in the more famous movie. But this is nowhere near as good as A Christmas Story.

The movie does has some moments that are funny, particularly during the prom (there's a lovingly horrific description of a corsage), but it also has a lot of moments that aren't particularly funny. And while little boy Ralphie's narcissism is amusing and relatable, I had less sympathy for Ralph, whose attitudes towards women need an attitude adjustment.

The movie is also rather poorly directed. It's done by the people who did the much better Between Time and Timbuktu, and has some of that movie's abstract and surreal touches. Unfortunately, that is totally wrong for the film. There are two cross-cutting scenes in which that two scenes don't in any way support or comment on one another. There's also this weird cutting to the "open hearth" that never resonates.

It's an somewhat interesting movie with some good scenes, but overall it's just not very good.


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