The Dead (1987 film)

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The Dead
Thedeadposter1987.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Huston
Produced by Chris Sievernich
Wieland Schulz-Keil
Written by Tony Huston
Based on "The Dead
by James Joyce
Starring Anjelica Huston
Donal McCann
Dan O'Herlihy
Donal Donnelly
Helena Carroll
Cathleen Delany
Music by Alex North
Cinematography Fred Murphy
Edited by Roberto Silvi
Distributed by Vestron Pictures
Release dates
  • 18 December 1987 (1987-12-18)
Running time 83 min
Language English
Budget $3.5 million[1]
Box office $4,370,078

The Dead is a 1987 film directed by John Huston, starring his daughter Anjelica Huston. The Dead was the last film that Huston directed, and it was released posthumously.

According to Pauline Kael, "Huston directed the movie, at eighty, from a wheelchair, jumping up to look through the camera, with oxygen tubes trailing from his nose to a portable generator; most of the time, he had to watch the actors on a video monitor outside the set and use a microphone to speak to the crew. Yet he went into dramatic areas that he'd never gone into before - funny, warm family scenes that might be thought completely out of his range. Huston never before blended his actors so intuitively, so musically."[2]

It was adapted from the short story "The Dead" by James Joyce (from his short works collection Dubliners), and nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Costume Design.

The film takes place in Dublin in 1904 at an Epiphany party held by two elderly sisters. The story focuses attention on the academic Gabriel Conroy (Donal McCann) and his discovery of his wife Gretta's (Anjelica Huston) memory of a deceased lover.

Film adaptation[edit]

The film adaptation, by John Huston's son, Tony Huston, can be considered to be a close adaptation of Joyce's short story, with some alterations made to the dialogue to aid the narrative for cinema audiences.

The most significant change to the story was the inclusion of a new character, a Mr Grace, who recites an eighth-century Middle Irish poem, "Donal Óg".[3][4] The effect of this is to act as catalyst for the "Distant Music" that provokes the memories Gretta and Gabriel discuss at the end of the film.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Chris Sievernich and Weiland Schulz-Keil had raised money for Under the Volcano and would do likewise for The Dead. Screen rights to the story were purchased from the Joyce estate for $60,000. Shooting began 19 January 1987.[1]

Release[edit]

The Dead was initially released on DVD by Lionsgate on November 3, 2009. However, the DVD had nearly ten minutes of the film missing.[5] When word of this was posted on various websites, Lionsgate eventually released a complete version.

Awards[edit]

Academy Awards - 1988[edit]

Nominations:

Other awards[edit]

Winner

  • 1987 Tokyo International Film Festival - Special Achievement Award, John Huston
  • 1988 National Society of Film Critics Awards (USA) - Best Film
  • 1988 Independent Spirit Awards (US Independent Film Awards) - Best Director, John Huston
  • 1988 Independent Spirit Awards (US Independent Film Awards) - Best Supporting Female, Anjelica Huston
  • 1989 Bodil Awards, (Danish Film Critics) - Best Non-European Film
  • 1989 Fotogramas de Plata (Spain) - Best Foreign Film
  • 1989 London Critics Circle Film Awards - Director of the Year, John Huston

Nominated

  • 1988 Independent Spirit Awards (US Independent Film Awards) - Best Cinematography, Fred Murphy
  • 1988 Independent Spirit Awards (US Independent Film Awards) - Best Screenplay, Tony Huston

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nat Segaloff, Final Cuts: The Last Films of 50 Great Directors, Bear Manor Media 2013 p 137-141
  2. ^ Pauline Kael, Hooked. London, Boyars, 1990. pp. 402-406 ISBN 0-7145-2903-6
  3. ^ "Donal Óg", tr. Augusta, Lady Gregory
  4. ^ Nick Laird, ”I think he died for me” The Guardian, December 2, 2006
  5. ^ Becker, Tom (November 2, 2009). "DVD Verdict Review: The Dead". DVDVerdict. Retrieved November 3, 2009. 

External links[edit]