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William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life (Broadway Theatre Archive) (1976)

Benjamin Hendrickson , Richard Ooms , Kirk Browning  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Benjamin Hendrickson, Richard Ooms, Nicolas Surovy, Sam Tsoutsouvas, Elaine Hausman
  • Directors: Kirk Browning
  • Writers: William Saroyan
  • Producers: Jac Venza, Lindsay Law, Phylis Geller
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2002
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005TNFE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,973 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life (Broadway Theatre Archive)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Performer theatre and film credits
  • Historical liner notes

Editorial Reviews

Presented by John Houseman's Acting Company and originally broadcast on PBS, this 1976 production of William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life was endorsed by the playwright, who provided its voice-over prologue. That's enough to recommend this production, but Saroyan's approval is only one measure of the production's success. Written in 1935 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize (which Saroyan refused to accept), the play captures the mixture of melancholy and hope that emerged between the Great Depression and World War II. Among the denizens of Nick's Bar in San Francisco, Joe (played with rich subtlety by Nicholas Surovy) best embodies the tenacious optimism that Nick's regulars adopt as a defense against a cold, cruel world. They're self-deluding but likable survivors, and Patti LuPone is at her heartbreaking best as two-dollar whore Kitty Duvall. That's 29-year-old Kevin Kline doing fine work in a brief appearance, joining these downtrodden dreamers who, in Saroyan's world, become heroes of the heart. --Jeff Shannon

Product Description

William Saroyan's Pulitzer Prize-winning play revolves around the denizens of a San Francisco bar in 1939. Lonely, lovelorn, weary or cynical, the characters drift in and out of the bar and each other's lives, giving voice to Saroyan's philosophies as they randomly comment about the impending world war, the beauty of art, and traditional notions of good and evil. At least one of the relationships stands a chance of enduring: a brawny innocent named Tom is falling in love with a vulnerable young prostitute named Kitty. Saroyan himself is heard reciting the play's prologue.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's the dream? April 14, 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Saroyan's best play, written in a week in 1939, brings both the color and foreboding of that period vividly to life. By turns funny and heartbreaking, the play manages to extract the poignancy of the human experience from the seemingly chaotic comings-and-goings of a shaggy collection of tavern denizens, led by "Joe." If you're not moved or amused by the events that transpire on a late afternoon in Nick's Entertainment Palace, then you really haven't lived enough. Boring this play is not.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! November 3, 2006
You will LOVE this DVD! It talks of a simpler time, possibly even a happier time when technology hadn't taken over the world. When we put our trust in people, not machines. A time when people actually cared for one another. Of course there was still a social food chain, but it was different. Kids played in the street with each other, not with their iPods. You could talk to a stranger with little risk. There was still crime of course but the word "terrorism" did not exist. It takes place in 1939, Pre-WWII, and things were different. If nothing else you will appreciate the little things like being able to buy a beer with the change in your pocket, a bottle of champangne was six dollars (which was a fortune). A young Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone are among the most famous faces (they were courting at the time I believe). You must see this DVD! SUPERB!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Production of an Award Winning Play! October 21, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Very entertaining. Great performances, especially by Patti LaPone and Nicholas Surovy. WARNING: Chapter 14 has two quick instances of digital skip. These are on the master and are not a manufacturing defect. They are hardly noticeable and should not affect your enjoyment of this great play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an Inspired or Coherent Production November 20, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is of this production, not this play--the play is great; this production, if it were music, would be frequently flat and off key. Some actors seem fine in their roles, and others are jarringly in-apt, if not inept. I want to like this performance, but I keep being distracted by the clunky manners of some these players. Also, the timing and verbal phrasing is often odd, even among the better actors, as if they were speaking lines from Ionesco, or another translated "absurdist" work. Saroyan is closer to lyric poetry than to absurdism. There are casting problems with the James Cagney version that he stars in, too, but he and his sister nail the poetic qualities of their lines--check out that film version from 1948, available for a pittance.
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8 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Time of your Life...Not while watching this DVD March 10, 2002
By A Customer
I am sorry to say that I was very much let down when I first watched this DVD. I think that the story line is just boring. The fact that they filmed it without an audience makes it lose something. The only reason to own this DVD is if you are a huge Patti LuPone fan. But even she is not at her best here. I would pass this one up if I were you.
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