7.6/10
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The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)

PG | | Drama | 30 May 1973 (France)
From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for ... See full summary »

Director:

Paul Newman

Writers:

Paul Zindel (play), Alvin Sargent (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanne Woodward ... Beatrice Hunsdorfer
Nell Potts ... Matilda Hunsdorfer
Roberta Wallach ... Ruth Hunsdorfer
Judith Lowry ... Nanny Annie
David Spielberg ... Mr. John Goodman
Richard Venture Richard Venture ... Floyd Hunsdorfer
Carolyn Coates Carolyn Coates ... Mrs. McKay
Will Hare ... Junk Man
Estelle Omens Estelle Omens ... Caroline Hunsdorfer
Jess Osuna Jess Osuna ... Trooper Sonny Gunderson
Ellen Dano Ellen Dano ... Janice Vickery
Lynne Rogers Lynne Rogers ... Miss Edith Hanley
Roger Serbagi Roger Serbagi ... Charlie
John Lehne John Lehne ... Apartment Manager
Michael Kearney Michael Kearney ... Chris Burns
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Storyline

From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for her life in the classified ads while all about her is the rubble of an unkempt house. All she needs is the right opportunity, she says puffing on a cigarette. Poorly equipped to survive the vagaries of modern life, she has nonetheless always managed to muddle through. Ruth, epileptic and making her way through the rebellious phase of adolescence, seems doomed to make the same mistakes as her mother. Quiet Matilda, on the other hand, seeks refuge in her animals and her schoolwork. "Jesus, don't you hate the world, Matilda?" Beatrice asks her youngest daughter. The title of the film is also the subject of Matilda's science project at school and serves as a metaphor for the way life affects each of us differently -- how some are able to find opportunity in adversity and thrive and how some succumb when ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Joanne Woodward stars in it. Paul Newman made it. The electrifying team from "Rachel, Rachel" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 May 1973 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Influência dos Raios Gama no Comportamento das Margaridas See more »

Filming Locations:

Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie has never been released to home video. See more »

Goofs

When Beatrice arrives at her sister-in-law Caroline's house, we see Caroline and her three bridge-playing friends in one shot. Later, when Beatrice yells at her brother-in-law through the bathroom door, we see the three ladies a second time in a reaction shot. Only one of them appears in both shots, although wearing a different outfit each time. The other two card-playing friends were played by different extras in each shot. See more »

Quotes

Beatrice: My heart is full!
See more »

Connections

References Guiding Light (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

On, Wisconsin!
(uncredited)
Music by William T. Purdy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
intense real life drama
1 January 2005 | by jvframeSee all my reviews

This film captures with unflinching accuracy the anguish caused to a family by a parent with a severe alcohol problem. However alcohol abuse is just one symptom displayed by this particular family unit which is struggling to survive economically disastrous times, from a severely disadvantaged position. The daughter's school science project "The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" mirrors the ongoing American social experiment of economic rationalism.

Joanne Woodward's character Beatrice is not evil, though she does some of the most cruel and demeaning things imaginable to her children. I believe that it's a great credit to both the playwright and director that we are able to develop empathy for her in spite of these actions. Much of what has happened to Beatrice in life has been out of her control, and yet she struggles to support her family and she holds desperately to hope of a highly unlikely avenue of economic escape (an as yet unformulated cheesecake recipe).

This is one of the most demanding, highly impacting and yet compulsive films I've seen. It's a window to the interpersonal relationships of good people who are struggling to respond with vigour to a system that delineates winners and losers.


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