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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:

The Paul Newman Production of the 1971 Pulitzer Prize winning play 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

Eileen Heckart also starred in a 1966 TV version. 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: [as Nanny Annie slurps her honey/water] If anybody had ever told me when I was younger I'd end up feeding honey to a zombie I'd have told them they were crazy. I'd be better off driving a cab.
See more »

Connections

References Guiding Light (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(uncredited)
Written by John Philip Sousa
See more »

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User Reviews

Woodward Gives One of the Greatest Performances Ever
26 September 2011 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The (1972)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

It's a shame the silly sounding title will probably make most people overlook this film because it's an incredibly strong character study that deserves more attention. Joanne Woodward plays Beatrice, a widow trying to race two girls (Nell Potts, Roberta Wallach) in a world she feels is falling apart due to stupid people. What Beatrice doesn't realize is that the majority of problems in her life are due to herself and she can't seem to realize the damage that she's doing to her daughters. I must admit that I was shocked to see that Woodward didn't even got an Oscar-nomination for her performance here, which will go down in my book as one of the biggest injustices of all-time. Many people has called this performance one of the actresses greatest and many, including her husband and director of this film Paul Newman, have called it the greatest of her career. I'd probably go even further than that and call it one of the greatest performances by an actress that you're ever going to see. The amount of rage, passion and at times evilness within this performance is something truly amazing to watch and it's just breathtaking sitting back and watching Woodward work. She said that this was one of her most difficult roles because of having to play someone so depressing, bitter and angry but she perfectly nails all of it. I think calling this character crazy would be an easy way out because there's just so much to her and so much development that goes on. Just take a look at a sequence where she's trying to gather money for a tea-shop invention that she's came up with. Just watch the way she grows more and more frantic as the money trail starts to go away. Another terrific sequence again shows the character in a different way. There's a scene where the mother learns that her oldest daughter had done a skit about her at school for laughs. Again, just watch the way Woodward brilliantly plays it. The supporting performances are also very good with Newman and Woodward's real-life daughter Nell doing a nice job with the role of the youngest sister. Roberta Wallach, Eli's daughter, is also extremely strong in her bit as the one who suffers the most humiliation from the mother. I also thought Newman's direction was superb and it's easy to tell in the film's that he directed that he believed the acting was the most important thing to any movie. He doesn't throw any real style into the film and instead he just turns the camera on and let's the actors bring the film to life. THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON MARIGOLDS is a very silly title but the film is a real gem with one of the greatest performances you're likely to see.


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