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The Iceman Cometh
The Iceman Cometh
Actors: Lee Marvin, Fredric March, Robert Ryan, Jeff Bridges, Bradford Dillman
Director: John Frankenheimer
Genres: Drama
PG     2003     3hr 59min

In the faded light of harry hopes 1912 new york skid row bar a rag tag group of fallen men await the annual arrival of hickey. But this year the relentlessly charismatic hickey brings the unwelcome news that hes off the sa...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Lee Marvin, Fredric March, Robert Ryan, Jeff Bridges, Bradford Dillman
Director: John Frankenheimer
Creators: Ralph Woolsey, Harold F. Kress, Ely A. Landau, Les Landau, Robert A. Goldston, Eugene O'Neill, Thomas Quinn Curtiss
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Kino Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 04/01/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1974
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1974
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 3hr 59min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 16
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Joey D | Brooklyn, NY USA | 06/26/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I originally saw this many years ago wondering what Lee Marvin was doing in such a high brow production and was rewarded with a memorable experience and new respect for the actors involved. I was surprised to find Fredric March in this. A movie star from the early days of the sound era, a two tme Oscar winner, I always knew March was a good and well respected actor, and there were two times when he shocked me and I realised HOW good he was: one was the original A STAR IS BORN where his performance surpassed the era it came from, playing more modern amidst the hokum and phony sentimentality that surrounded everything else in the picture, giving the film a lasting relevancy; the other was INHERIT THE WIND, where I was all geared up to watch Spencer Tracy in a great role and wound up picking my jaw off the floor at March in the Brady role. No Academy nomination, no lasting hossanahs, was anybody else aware of what March was doing here? Well his performance here surpasses those two. Amazing how his acting style kept changing, permitting him to give relevant performances for over forty years in quality films. His work here is fully shaded and from an aesthetic viewpoint, a joy to watch. But even his performance is not the outstanding one in the picture. That honor goes to Robert Ryan. ROBERT RYAN??!!??!! Always a solid performer, whether playing the hard-bitten good guy or the hard-bitten bad guy (usually), there is nothing in his canon of work that will prepare you for the magnitude or the depth of his performance here. Who knew there was a giant, and I do mean GIANT, talent lurking in that lean boxer frame. It will make you angry, and sad, that his talent was barely scratched in all those movies. But it is ultimately a blessing that in this, his last film, he was able to get a role that would utilize his full range as an actor. An incredible revelation. Since these AFT productions only played for 2 screenings, they fell under the radar of the Academy Awards' stipulation that a film must play for a week to be eligible for nominations, which is why you won't see any of these AFT productions in the Academy books on excellence. Marvin doesn't hit the mark of these two performances, but he is very good, at times excellent. Tough going, but a rewarding, memorable experience.."
Best of the best
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 03/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Consider the fact that not one but two of the actors in this astoundingly good production gave their last cinematic performances. Now consider that one of them gave one of his first performances. The convergence of talent for this full 4 hour production is beyond prodigious; it's breathtaking. Robert Ryan and Frederic March are flawless as two old, embittered men whose reliance on booze, day to day, gets them through life. Both have women who abandoned them--one died, one left. Both lapse into stark cynicism that breaks the heart. Both, when you see their faces, make you want to cry from the pain they feel.

They are the best here, but the supporting cast is almost as good. Jeff Bridges, in one of his first roles, gives it everything he's got to convey the portrait of a young man who's trying as hard as he can to steer clear of the bitterness and cynicism that surrounds him in Harry Hope's (Frederic March) skid row saloon, frequented by Harry, Larry (Robert Ryan), and an assortment of others whose lives have left them nothing but the will to drink and drink some more.

Parritt, Jeff Bridges' character, almost succeeds in shucking off the hopelessness, but if he fully succeeded, he wouldn't keep returning to the place--which he does. He's the odd one out; the others are grizzled or, if young (like Brad Dillman's character, Willie) so besotted they're decades older than their natural years. Into this morass of self-pity and useless nostalgia comes Hickey--Lee Marvin--a salesman who exhorts everyone to give up their pipe dreams, get off the sauce like he's recently done, and face reality.

Easier said than done. You'd think that four hours of a play would become wearying, but the actors are so good here, and the dialogue so strong--thanks to master craftsman Eugene O'Neill--that rather than putting you to sleep, this drama has the opposite effect. Mention should also be made of Moses Gunn as the sole black man in the place who's embittered as well, blaming the white man for his failure when it's all too clear it's his own shortcomings that have led him to Harry's dive. Gunn is terrific in his role, almost as good as Ryan and March.

This is American drama at its finest, and a production, part of the American Film Theater (AFT) series, that does justice to O'Neill's gripping play. It's impossible to fault anyone here, and the director, John Frankenheimer--better known for great thrillers like The Train and Seconds--said that this was the best work he ever did. The DVD comes with a number of extras including an interview with Edy Landau, co-producer of the entire American Film Theater series; a brief introduction by her now-deceased husband (taped in 1974), Eli Landau, the other co-producer; a gallery of stills; a set of trailers for many of the AFT films; reviews of the series by various critics; and an essay on The Iceman Cometh by Michael Feingold, premier New York film critic.

This is a superior piece of dramatic work that should not be missed, and one of the great American plays. Consider the fact that when this originally ran, it was only for two showings! Hats off to Kino Video for making this available on DVD.

Very highly recommended."
Robin Simmons | Palm Springs area, CA United States | 04/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"All fourteen AMERICAN FILM THEATER productions have been rediscovered and restored. Collection One features: Lee Marvin in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh"; Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel in Eugene Ionesco's "Rhinoceros"; Alan Bates in Simon Grey's "Butley"; Susannah York and Glenda Jackson in Jean Genet's "The Maids" and Stacy Keach and Judi Dench in John Osborne's "Luther".AFT was the brainchild of producer Ely Landau, who believed a great segment of the movie audience wanted "think and feel." This superior collection of modern plays is performed with superb talents at the peak of their powers. Lee Marvin is a wonder in "The Iceman Cometh" and it's wonderful seeing Wilder and Mostel (The Producers) reunited in the metaphorically puzzling Rhinoceros. For me, the most electrifying of all is Keach and Dench in "Luther". This one is more timely than ever. This brilliant, first collection of six DVD titles is highly recommended."
Acting tour de force
LGwriter | 06/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"All the performances in this film are excellent. A fine example of cohesive ensemble playing. Lee Marvin has been described by various critics as being miscast as Hickey. I suppose this is based upon comparisons with Robards. I haven't seen any other versions of this play but I think Marvin's performance is fine. Certainly Ryan and March are brilliant and for these two performances this video is worth owning. For those of you who have seen this version on TV in the past note: this is the 4 hour uncut version rarely seen outside of the original season of 1973. Only O'Neill can sustain drama over such a long time. You Americans should be proud of him he was a genius and this is his masterpiece."