7.5/10
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53 user 25 critic

The Whales of August (1987)

Not Rated | | Drama | 19 August 1987 (France)
Two aged sisters reflect on life and the past during a late summer day in Maine.

Director:

Lindsay Anderson

Writers:

David Berry (screenplay), David Berry (play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Libby Strong
Lillian Gish ... Sarah Webber
Vincent Price ... Mr. Maranov
Ann Sothern ... Tisha Doughty
Harry Carey Jr. ... Joshua Brackett
Frank Grimes ... Mr. Beckwith
Margaret Ladd ... Young Libby
Tisha Sterling ... Young Tisha
Mary Steenburgen ... Young Sarah
Frank Pitkin Frank Pitkin ... Old Randall
Mike Bush Mike Bush ... Young Randall
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Storyline

It's August. Like they have most summers, elderly widowed sisters Libby Strong and Sarah Webber, who live in Philadelphia, are staying together in the family's summer cottage on an island off the coast of Maine. The cottage, which now belongs to Sarah, has been in their family most of their lives, was the family's summer getaway from Philadelphia when they were younger. There are a few people who have been friends or acquaintances on the island, including the outspoken Tisha Dought, and Joshua Brackett. Someone new at least to Sarah's social circle is Mr. Maranov, a former Russian aristocrat. His stay on the island is threatened when his landlady, Hilda Partridge, passes away. Sarah and Libby have come to the realization they are in the respective twilight of their lives, Sarah, who still keeps busy and wants to savor life's pleasures, acts as now sightless, cantankerous and bitter Libby's caregiver. Sarah knows she can no longer take care of Libby. As such, Sarah has to make ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Screen's Immortals... A movie you'll never forget. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 August 1987 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

As Baleias de Agosto See more »

Filming Locations:

Maine, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,338,198
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nelson Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Black and White (flashbacks)| Color (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Vincent Price replaced John Gielgud in the role of Mr. Maranov due to a dispute between Gielgud and director Lindsay Anderson. See more »

Goofs

When the radio (or wireless) is switched on in order for Libby to listen to her favourite programme, the sound of the broadcast is heard immediately as though it were a modern transistor or digital radio. But the film is set in the mid-1950s during the era of valve wireless receivers (see also the prop used in the scene), meaning that the ladies would have to wait for several seconds while the set warms up before the programme could be heard. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Webber: Oh, I couldn't burden you with my troubles.
Tisha Doughty: [scoffs] Half of life is troubles, Sarah. The other half's gettin' over 'em.
See more »


Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Music by Haydn Wood
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Lost Breed of Movie
16 August 2002 | by Shelly_Servo3000See all my reviews

I'm 22 years old and yet this movie about two elderly sisters and their friends touched my heart deeply.

I must admit before I begin that I am a fan of Bette Davis and Vincent Price, and that Miss Lillian Gish is my all time favorite actress, so my view of this film may be skewed. However, I must admit and admire the sheer artistry of these actors (including the unsung Ann Sothern) and their ability to take a simple story and turn it into an engaging, emotional tour de force film of power and majesty.

Miss Gish was in the twilight of her life in this, her last film, but you could still see the same actress who touched audiences in 1919's "Broken Blossoms"...the same powerful skills which are on display in 1928's "The Wind", and the same quiet dignity portrayed in 1959's "The Night of the Hunter". Her scenes are by far the finest of the movie.

I must respectfully disagree with my fellow reviewers in their dismissal of Bette Davis's performance. Her character was supposed to be hard-headed, mean, and in bad health (why else keep harking on dying?). Bette is all of these things. I could really feel that she WAS Libby. Although her constant yelling of "SAY-rah" was a little annoying, but that's Ms. Davis for you.

Vincent Price was a revelation for those of us who have only seen him as a schlockmiester. His role as the Count, warm, friendly, scared and courtly, was probably the most sympathetic character in the film.

All in all, a touching, beautiful tribute to the legends of the screen and to the movies themselves. A lost breed of film.


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