7.3/10
7,164
64 user 48 critic

The Dead (1987)

PG | | Drama | 18 December 1987 (USA)
Gabriel Conroy and wife Greta attend an early January dinner with friends at the home of his spinster aunts, an evening which results in an epiphany for both of them.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

James Joyce (short story from "Dubliners"), Tony Huston (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Helena Carroll Helena Carroll ... Aunt Kate
Cathleen Delany Cathleen Delany ... Aunt Julia
Rachael Dowling Rachael Dowling ... Lily
Kate O'Toole Kate O'Toole ... Miss Furlong (as Katherine O'Toole)
Bairbre Dowling Bairbre Dowling ... Miss Higgins
Maria Hayden Maria Hayden ... Miss O'Callaghan
Cormac O'Herlihy Cormac O'Herlihy ... Mr. Kerrigan
Colm Meaney ... Mr. Bergin
Ingrid Craigie ... Mary Jane
Dan O'Herlihy ... Mr. Brown
Anjelica Huston ... Gretta
Donal McCann ... Gabriel
Sean McClory ... Mr. Grace (as Seán McClory)
Frank Patterson Frank Patterson ... Bartell D'Arcy
Marie Kean ... Mrs. Malins
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Storyline

On the lightly snowy evening of January 6, 1904 in Dublin, elderly spinster sisters Kate and Julia and their niece, Mary Jane - all music teachers or performers, past or present - are hosting their annual Epiphany party and dinner, and, with the exception of Mary Jane's new crop of students and the young gentlemen tasked with keeping them company, most of the guests have attended in previous years. Kate and Julia's nephew Gabriel and his wife Gretta hold integral roles for the evening, Gabriel, who, in addition to being Freddy Malins caregiver if he gets too drunk as is often the case, is to carve the dinner goose and provide the evening's main toast, while Gretta is to present the pudding. With the added unexpected excitement provided by Irish nationalist Molly Ivors for Gabriel, the party basically goes according to script. As most of the guests have departed and just before Gabriel and Gretta are to do the same - this year they staying in a downtown hotel instead of making the long... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A vast, merry, and uncommon tale of love.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was a family affair for the Huston. Father John Huston directed the movie, daughter Anjelica Huston acted and starred in the movie, whilst son Tony Huston penned the screenplay for the picture. See more »

Quotes

Mary Jane: Are you an ornithologist as well?
Bartell D'Arcy: An amateur. I suppose being a singer makes me susceptible to other creatures that sing. Birds are the most beautiful singers of all. Just think of the widow warbler and the wren.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Ten minutes of the film have been omitted from the 2009 DVD release. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Chronic Rift: Isaac Asimov (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

"For He's a Jolly God Fellow' (uncredited)
Traditional American and British song
Sung by Donal McCan and guests to his aunts and cousin at Christmas table
See more »

User Reviews

 
A perfect short story brought to screen perfection
20 February 2001 | by wisewebwomanSee all my reviews

This is my favourite movie of all time. And I always think of it as John Huston's requiem.

I must have seen it at least 20 times and never tire of it. The mood, the script, the singing, the dinner, it is like being invited into someone's home and observing the events and not able to participate even though you want to... It is a rare treasure, this movie and I cannot write enough praise for it.

It is cast incredibly well, with quite a few Abbey Theatre faces and also the wonderful tenor voice of Frank Patterson. Lady Gregory's poem recited in the movie is one of the most moving ever written. Anjelica's scene walking down the stairs as she listens to the song is one of the best performances every seen on film. I cry every time I see it..for all the right reasons.

We have all had love lost at an early age and weep for our young hopeful selves.

Donal McCann acted in far too few movies for my liking, he just loved stage work and stuck to it, and it is our loss that we do not have more of his performances on film as he does so much with this delicate role by expression and the portrayal of a deep love for his wife that will never be reciprocated and he conveys such inner sadness at knowing this.

If you want your movies action and plot packed avoid this, there really is no beginning, middle or end just a lens onto the characters at a dinner party in Dublin 80 years ago and all the little nuances and shadings of the personalities portrayed so beautifully.

Bravo to all who were involved in this production. 10 out of 10.


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Details

Country:

UK | Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Huston's The Dead See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$69,074, 20 December 1987

Gross USA:

$4,370,078

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,370,078
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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