Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, is the dysfunction junction of American drama, as the Tyrone family members, based on the playwright’s own clan, tease and lacerate one another with their grudges and woes. Katharine Hepburn is Mary Tyrone, the morphine-addicted wife of James Tyrone, a famous actor with Shakespearean ambitions who betrays his talent for commercial popularity. (O’Neill’s father, James, an actor in the late 1800s, hooked himself into a cash cow, Alexandre Dumas’ ”The Count of Monte Cristo,” and toured it relentlessly.) As Hepburn’s Mary slips further into addiction, her moods turn on a dime, alternately pleading, frightened, confessing, denying – and paining her devoted but miserly husband, beautifully played by Ralph Richardson. Jason Robards is their alcoholic, self-loathing son Jamie, and a handsome Dean Stockwell (now Navy Secretary Sheffield on ”JAG”) is his younger brother Edmund (a stand-in for O’Neill), suffering from consumption and also drinking too much. Plays don’t always transfer well to film, but director Sidney Lumet capitalizes superbly on the sense of claustrophobic entrapment. Sadly, no extras included to complement the four riveting performances.
(Long Day's Journey Into Night: Everett Collection)
Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson; Starring: Jason Robards, Dean Stockwell; Director: Sidney Lumet; Author: Eugene O'Neill; MPAA Rating: Unrated
Posted May 21 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT
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