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9 March 1976 (USA)  »

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Unforgettable performance by Torn
30 April 2007 | by (New York NY) – See all my reviews

Not a great film, of course, but a fine showcase for a superb performance by Rip Torn - possibly the best thing he's ever done. He looks remarkable like the Whitman of the first edition of Leaves of Grass; to say he brings the poet to life is both an over- and an understatement. No scenery chewing here: Torn's Whitman is a real person; the actor doesn't have to shout in our ears for us to believe we're entering into the life of a marvelous and unique individual. The scenarist handles Whitman's homosexuality head-on but without implying more than we actually know. I'd guess this ranks with the greatest theatrical "impersonations" I've ever seen, up there with Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain and Julie Harris as Emily Dickinson.


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