Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Long Day's Journey Into Night|
Actors: Peter Gallagher, Jack Lemmon, Bethel Leslie, Jodie Lynne McClintock, Kevin Spacey
Director: Jonathan Miller
Genres: Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Academy Awardİ-winning star power lights up this passionate production of Eugene O'Neill's timeless American classic! In the height of a sweltering summer, the Tyrone family is about to explode with simmering tensions and ... more »
Perhaps the Penultimate
Nicole Harpe | 06/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful interpretation of O'Neill's transcendental autobiographical work. The cast is fine, but a less "performed" example of Long Day's Journey into Night does exist. The 1962 film by Sidney Lumet actually succeeds more as a drama and as a glimpse into a tortured reality. It is hard to explain. It's like seeing Shakespeare acted out instead of embraced and performed. This newer cast acts the story. The Lumet cast lives the story. They breathe it. They are not actors cast in a show. They are the O'Neill family. Even the filming itself becomes an active part of the Lumet experience. Is buying this version a mistake? Absolutely not. I would just simply recommend taking a look at the Lumet version before deciding."
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 09/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jack Lemmon is brilliant in this 1987 television production of Eugene O'Neill's 1940 play as the patriarch of a severely dysfunctional family, James Tyrone--a former actor and now an emvbittered man in his 60s. His wife, Mary, played quite well by Bethel Leslie, is a morphine addict. His older son, Edmund, is consumptive but says he has "a bad cold". And his younger son, Jamie, is hard bitten, cynical--a chip off the old block. Jamie's bitterness echoes his father's in another way--he's a failed actor.
Edmund is played by Peter Gallagher. It's a little off-putting to connect a man with consumption to an actor with such a strapping frame. In spite of that, Gallagher does do a good job. The only somewhat false note, unfortunately, is supplied by Kevin Spacey as Jamie who turns in a somewhat one-dimensional performance. His cynicism comes through, but he doesn't shake that. Even when his lines indicate he's softened a little, trying to convey that he does in fact have some sympathy for his brother or his father, it still sounds aggressive. This was near the start of his professional acting career, so perhaps it's understandable.
The production itself, however, is first-rate. The director, Jonathan Miller, startled audiences by staging the play in such a way that there is often overlapping dialogue. This happens most often when two members of the family are arguing with each other, which is decidedly realistic. In an extremely intriguing one-hour audio interview that comes as a bonus on this DVD, Miller talks about this technique of overlapping dialogue. He is a brilliant man--both a medical doctor and a stage/opera director--and listening to him is a real pleasure.
There is also a one-hour audio interview with Kevin Spacey. Nowhere near as captivating as the interview with Miller, it is still of interest, particularly when Spacey recounts several anecdotes about his relationship with Jack Lemmon, who he considers a mentor.
The overlapping dialogue technique startled not only the audience, but also critics, many of whom lambasted Miller for this. After all, the playwright is O'Neill, an American institution. But personally, I think Miller did a terrific job. It's somewhat difficult to listen to endless dialogue from a dysfunctional family; this technique of having the characters talk over each other is exactly what dysfunctional family members would do in real life and it juices up the proceedings, makes the audience sit up and pay attention. I think it's perfect.
In fact, when you see and hear Long Day's Journey for the first time and you realize it was written in 1940, you realize just how far ahead of his time O'Neill really was. The substantial spate of plays and films that have been staged, produced, and released since that time with a dysfunctional family as the theme have testified to exactly how prescient and attuned the playwright was to the real core of American life--life as it's lived day to day in the home.
This is a brilliant play with a marvelous production. Lemmon is phenomenal; Leslie is great. Gallagher is very good and Spacey gives it a good try. Were it not for the somewhat weaker elements, this would be a five-star rating.
Still highly recommended."
Great Work of Art
Jacquelyn A. Bride | New York City | 10/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of the stage for several decades and have seached high and low for a copy of this production. I saw it on ebay several times for hundreds of dollars but finally it has been made available to all. If you are a lover of great stage performances than this dvd is for you. It has been missing from my collection far to long. You see the late great Jack Lemmon at his best (on stage) and a young raw Kevin Spacey (he even has hair) working togther on stage. Then add Peter Gallagher and Bethel Leslie and you have some of the great stage performers of our time. I missed this one live - don't know how - but still kicking myself. Great to see it on DVD for generations to enjoy.