Search - John Cheever's The Sorrows of Gin (Broadway Theatre Archive) on DVD

John Cheever's The Sorrows of Gin (Broadway Theatre Archive)
John Cheever's The Sorrows of Gin
Broadway Theatre Archive
Actors: John Harkins, Baxter Harris, Eileen Heckart, Sally-Jane Heit, Edward Herrmann
Director: Jack Hofsiss
Genres: Drama, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2002     1hr 0min

Sigourney Weaver and Edward Herrmann portray an affluent suburban couple whose empty and gin-fueled lives are observed through the eyes of their neglected, eight-year-old daughter in a teleplay adapted by playwright Wendy ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: John Harkins, Baxter Harris, Eileen Heckart, Sally-Jane Heit, Edward Herrmann
Director: Jack Hofsiss
Creators: Ann Blumenthal, Peter Weinberg, John Cheever, Wendy Wasserstein
Genres: Drama, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television, Broadway Theatre Archive
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/26/2002
Original Release Date: 10/24/1979
Theatrical Release Date: 10/24/1979
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

"My father can polish off eight martinis in a night."
Mary Whipple | New England | 07/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"With an eye for details and an ear for the hollow speech of the upper-middle-class residents of Shady Hill, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein transforms John Cheever's famous short story into a realistic play about the failure to connect. Set primarily inside a suburban home, the play focuses on the lives of the Lawton family--Kip (Edward Herrmann) and Marcia (Sigourney Weaver), for whom the social whirl of cocktail parties and evening martinis has completely subsumed real life, and eight-year-old Amy (Mara Hobel), sad, lonely, and often fobbed off on the household help. The acting is outstanding, with an amazing performance by young Mara Hobel.

Although the Lawtons' household employees come and go, Amy becomes particularly fond of Rosemary, a cook who is as lonely as she is and who reads to her and gives her affection. When Rosemary returns one evening from a trip to the city, drunk, she is instantly fired, in part because she has embarrassed Amy's father in public. Amy, devastated, decides to follow a suggestion Rosemary once made to her--she pours her father's gin down the sink. When Amy continues this practice, her parents assume that the help is stealing it, and they fire a succession of employees. After her father's hot-headed confrontation with a babysitter, Amy decides to run away.

Produced for Public Television in 1979, this Jack Hofsiss-directed play depicts every aspect of the Lawtons' shallow lives. Amy's imitations of her parents' speech and their alcohol-related entertaining are duplicated when she plays with her dolls, and her mother's concern with appearances and her father's constant escape into martinis show the emptiness of their lives and the effects on Amy. Unfortunately, while this realistically depicted subject may have been fresh in the late 1970s, when the story was written, it is now stale and offers little that is new, thematically. The Lawtons are not intrinsically interesting, and their interactions with their daughter, such as they are, do not develop any real dramatic tension.

The intricacy and satire of Cheever's short story are missing here, and the pacing and careful buildup of details, which enhance the themes of Cheever's short story and leave something to the imagination, are sacrificed--everything in the play is obvious from the outset. The good acting, Wasserstein's natural-sounding dialogue, and the accuracy of the sets and costuming do not compensate for the losses that occur when this carefully constructed short story is transferred from the reader's imagination to an in-your-face revelation of family problems by people who do not learn from their experiences. Mary Whipple
Guy De Federicis | east of here | 02/10/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Edward Herrmann and Sigourney Weaver play a young successful suburban couple who allow their daily consumption of cocktails to manipulate their lives. A Broadway Theatre Archive Series DVD, the drama never gets as drunkenly sordid as say, "The Days of Wine and Roses", or "Come Back, Little Sheeba", as the alcohol dependence here is subtle as it frays at the binds of family ties. Especially moving is the husband's ignorance of his young daughter's ( Mara Hobel in a fine juvenile performance), intolerance at the succession of household daycare workers who lose their jobs as it is discovered someone has been nipping at the sherry. The play, written by Wendy Wasserstein, is based on a short story by John Cheever."