The American Film Theatre: Collection One [6 Discs] [DVD]
- SKU: 13312836
- Release Date: 04/01/2003
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John Frankenheimer's screen version of Eugene O'Neill's 1947 Broadway play The Iceman Cometh is set in 1912 at Harry Hope's dingy waterfront saloon. On the occasion of Hope's birthday, several derelicts enter the scene to pontificate on the lives they'd planned, the lives they still dream about, and the wasted lives they wound up with. The cast features Lee Marvin as Hickey, a loser who's convinced himself that he's a winner; Robert Ryan as Larry Slade; and Fredric March (his last film role) as Harry Hope. The Iceman Cometh was one of a series of prestige productions presented by the American Film Theatre. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The American Film Theatre has made movies of a number of significant theatrical performances, including Laurence Olivier's Othello. Another of these filmed theatricals is Simon Gray's Butley, which was brought to the screen by playwright Harold Pinter, and which features an astonishing performance by Alan Bates. The story focuses on one very bad day in the life of Butley (Bates), a feisty, sharp-tongued, lazy and pathetic professor of English. His professional ascendancy is challenged by a slick, accomplished woman many years his junior; his ex-wife gives him conniptions when she announces her remarriage to someone he cannot bear; and his male lover of several years chooses this time to announce that he is leaving him for a sweeter-tempered but very ordinary man of the sort Butley despises. Bleak though this sounds, Butley's unconquerable wit and biting repartee transform this otherwise tragic tale into something of a celebration of survival. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi
Directed by Christopher Miles, The Maids is a 1974 film version of the play by French absurdist writer Jean Genet. Solange (Glenda Jackson) and Claire (Susannah York) are two sisters who work as servants for a strict Madame (Vivian Merchant). When Madame and Monsieur (Mark Burns) leave the house, the two women enact dramatic role playing games. To get out their sexual frustrations against their boss and each other, they alternate the parts of master and servant. They both love and hate the Madame passionately enough to plot her murder. During a particularly intense game of play, Claire accidentally drinks the poison that was meant for the Madame. The Maids is part of producer Ely Landau's American Film Theatre Series, which ran in select theaters from 1973-1975. In 2003, all 14 films in the series were given a wide release on home video from Kino International. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
Adapted for the screen by Edward Anhalt from the play by John Osborne, Luther stars Stacy Keach as religious leader and "heretic" Martin Luther. In minimalist fashion, the film traces Luther's disillusionment with the Catholic Church, and his eventual spearheading of the Reformation movement. Over the course of the film, Keach ages from an ingenuous seminarian to a disgruntled, middle-aged firebrand. Director Guy Green does little to cinematize the material, instead favoring a theatrical approach and thus allowing the rich dialogue to be better appreciated. Luther was a production of the American Film Theatre. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rhinoceros is another American Film Theatre movie recording a notable stage production. The incomparable duo of Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, whose earlier work in The Producers is now a comedy classic, join forces here to make the surreal comedy of Eugene Ionesco's play come to life. Ionesco was a leading exponent of "theater of the absurd," and realism was the last thing on his mind. For that reason, many people find this comedy rough going. Stanley (Gene Wilder) seems to be the only one who notices that everyone in the world is turning into Rhinoceroses--Everyone. First, they are overcome by a certain indifference to human values, and then POOF! they are on all fours, knocking over buildings and eating vegetation. He confides his concerns to his friend John (Zero Mostel), but even he swiftly begins to develop certain "thickish" tendencies. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Lee Marvin - Hickey
- Robert Ryan - Larry Slade
- Fredric March - Harry Pope
- Jeff Bridges - Don Parritt
- Martyn Green - The Capt.