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Turtle Diary (1985)

Two separate people, a man and a woman, find something very stirring about the sea turtles in their tank at the London Zoo. They meet and form an odd, but sympathetic camaraderie as they ... See full summary »

Director:

John Irvin

Writers:

Russell Hoban (novel), Harold Pinter (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Glenda Jackson ... Neaera Duncan
Ben Kingsley ... William Snow
Richard Johnson ... Mr. Johnson (Neaera's Neighbor)
Michael Gambon ... George Fairbairn (turtle keeper)
Rosemary Leach ... Mrs. Charlie Inchcliff (landlady)
Eleanor Bron ... Miss Neap (Flora)
Harriet Walter ... Harriet Sims (bookstore clerk)
Jeroen Krabbé ... Mr. Sandor (the slob)
Nigel Hawthorne ... The Publisher
Michael Aldridge ... Mr. Meager, Bookstore Owner
Rom Anderson Rom Anderson ... Girl at Zoo
Tony Melody ... Garage Attendant with Bucket
Gary Olsen Gary Olsen ... Lorry Driver at Rest Park
Peter Capaldi ... Assistant Keeper
Harold Pinter ... Man in Bookshop
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Storyline

Two separate people, a man and a woman, find something very stirring about the sea turtles in their tank at the London Zoo. They meet and form an odd, but sympathetic camaraderie as they plan to steal two of the turtles and free them into the ocean. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They share a strange and amusing obsession.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 February 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Diario de tortugas See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,115, 17 February 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,156,772
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The editor, the cinematographer and the executive producer were all called Peter. They were respectively Peter Tanner, Peter Hannan and Peter Snell. See more »

Quotes

William Snow: Tell me, suppose some turtle freak decided to steal these turtles, what would he need for the job?
George Fairbairn: What would he want to do with them after he'd stolen them?
William Snow: Put them back in the sea?
George Fairbairn: Oh, well... He'd need a trolley to get them out of here, crates to put 'em in, and a van to take them down to the ocean.
William Snow: Wouldn't they dry out on the trip?
George Fairbairn: Funny, you're the second person this week who's asked me about the turtles... No, drying out's no problem. Put 'em on foam rubber, you see? Throw a bucket on ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murder of a Cat (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Screen Acting at its Best in a Gentle, Memorable Fable
19 March 2006 | by dglinkSee all my reviews

Two lonely people, who desperately need to break out of their own confines, conspire together to free two sea turtles that have been imprisoned in an aquarium for thirty years. Harold Pinter's well-written script for "Turtle Diary" is spare, but Ben Kingsley and Glenda Jackson are such consummate actors that they bring a depth to their parts that goes well beyond words. Screen acting rarely gets better than these two performances. A glance, a half smile, and a shrug convey more than a page of written lines, and Kingsley and Jackson are masters of non-verbal communication. The supporting cast in this quirky film is equally skilled and ably fleshes out the sketchily written roles. Eleanor Bron is particularly memorable as a shadowy woman of few words, who lives in the same boardinghouse as Kingsley. She says little, but suggests much. Bron's character will haunt the viewer long after the film is over. Richard Johnson plays Jackson's neighbor, and he too creates a character far more real than his few lines of dialog would suggest. Nigel Hawthorne, Rosemary Leach, Michael Gambon, and Jeroen Krabbe also add idiosyncratic characterizations to this engaging film.

Set in London, "Turtle Diary" could be classified as a love story, although no romance develops between the leads and the lack of romance or interpersonal involvement constrains many of the protagonists. For the most part, the characters are solitary individuals, who exist alone and uninvolved when the film opens. However, as the story progresses, the fortunate form attachments, while those who do not remain confined by their loneliness. The story is slight and obviously intended to provide parallels between the plight of the turtles and those of the characters. Events move slowly, and character trumps plot. "Turtle Diary" is a glowing film for patient viewers, who will be rewarded for their time with excellent performances, memorable characters, and a gentle captivating story.


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