Customer Reviews: Broken Glass: Starring JoBeth Williams, David Dukes, Lawrence Pressman and Linda Purl
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on June 25, 2000
This Mobil Masterpiece Theater production of an adapatation of Arthur Miller's play is a gripping look at both the dilemma of being Jewish in pre-war America, as well as a fascinating look at how fear can, literally, cripple a life.
The story revolves around a married Jewish couple, the Gellburgs, in Brooklyn in 1938. Mrs. Gellburg suddenly finds herself unable to move her legs, and becomes the patient of Dr. Hyman, played powerfully by Mandy Patinkin. Mr. Gellburg, in a way, also becomes the patient of Dr. Hyman as Mrs. Gellburg's diagnosis is revealed to be hysterical paralysis -- i.e., it's all in her head.
What Dr. Hyman is left to uncover about the Gellburgs, including both the extremely personal -- their marriage and their identity as Jews -- and the extremely impersonal -- the beginning of the torture and slaughter of Jews in Germany -- teaches great lessons about the choices we make in our lives; when to give in, when to stand up and say, "Enough." Fear can be either a force for change, or an excuse to avoid the inevitable pains of life.
I highly recommend this serious and thought-provoking drama; it provides much food for thought for people of any age or situation.
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on July 8, 2004
Arthur Miller's play, BROKEN GLASS is an interesting psychological mystery set in Brooklyn in 1938 . . . it is about a 45-year-old woman who suddenly loses her ability to walk . . . there is no medical reason why this is happening; the only clue lies in her growing obsession with news accounts from Germany.
What I liked most about the taped version BROKEN GLASS was the cast, which included Lawrence Pressman, Linda Purl, JoBeth Williams, and the late David Dukes (who I had really liked as an actor) . . . this work was put out by a group called L.A. Theatre Works, which features full-cast productions of complete plays . . . my only regret is that I haven't come across too many other things they've done; i.e., that are available from my local library.
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VINE VOICEon September 25, 2005
"Broken Glass" is a thriller set in 1938 that personifies the fear that Hitler caused Jews in America. While this plot seems compelling, the story falls a little flat it other areas. This is far from Miller's best work.

When Sylvia suddenly looses the use of her legs, medical origins are unexpected. Yet as the story evolves, we find the cause to be psychological. It is suspected that a fear of the Nazi's treatment of Jews in Germany has caused her paralysis. However, there was something more. Sylivia has lived in a marriage with her husband Phillip that feels empty. They have not consumated their marriage in twenty years when their last child was conceived. Sylvia was raised in a family that coddled her and made her feel secure. Her marriage lacks all of the qualities of the family she was raised in. In a twist that seems out of place, Phillip suddenly dies in the last scene just as he promises to change for Sylvia. This happens just moments after she walks again.

In so many ways, this work does not seem to have the fingerprints of Arthur Miller. The characters are one dimensional and forced just for the sake of discussing one of Miller's most comfortable plots, anti-Semitism. Many of Miller's later works are disappointing. This fits that category.
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on August 13, 2006
Arthur Miller is a play writer who used to analyze big tragedies in its particular repercussion in the lives of his characters. In his work the historical factor is very important, but for how it transforms particular lives. In his last play "Broken Glass" this is not different. The main character Sylvia Gellburg has her legs paralyzed because of the news she reads in newspapers on the Jews being murdered and humiliated in Germany.

Her physical problem affects all her family and strikes her husband, Phillip Gellburg, biggest shame: being a Jew. He has avoided mentioning it all the time, afraid of prejudice and ashamed of his people. However, when Sylvia problems surface, the man must come to terms with something he has denied his whole life. At this point, Miller is discussion not only one's identity, but also the denial of one's heritage. The two characters, Sylvia and Phillip, are the beginning and end of a specter.

Following his tradition of global and local, Miller brings to the Gellburg's home a tragedy that is happening oceans apart and reflecting in their lives. Here, the writer does not fantasize, just like Philip Roth's magnificent "The Plot Against America". Both works have the same historical background, and discuss the same theme. But while the play investigates how the event destroys one home, the novel sees a whole nation being affected.

As it is usual, Miller has populated his play with believable characters. From the dubious doctor Harry Hyman, to Sylvia's dumb sister Harriet, "Broken Glass" surfaces with regular people that could be met on the streets.
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on September 16, 2015
Arthur Miller needs no praise from me. His reputation is well-deserved. This particular story has many cross-currents, and I was dazzled by Miller's putting them all together.
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on November 16, 2012
A good play on an old theme by one of the great play writes of our times. Its a bit dated, but taking that into consideration, it still is a play with meaning.
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on March 10, 2013
Great play which is often not read or taught among the well-known Arthur Miller texts. One of the best female roles that Miller ever wrote.
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on July 31, 2015
This Arthur Miller play is a fast read. It is an adult play that is full of humor, melodrama, and wisdom cloaked in symbolism.
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on June 6, 2014
The book came to me in perfect condition. It is clear that it is a brand new item which has not even been read before.
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on May 10, 2000
I found this production of Arthur Miller's play gripping, intense and thought-provoking. It is about a Jewish Brooklyn couple coming to terms with their unhappy marriage after the woman mysteriously loses her ability to walk, possibly because she is so disturbed by the treatment of Jews in Germany - the year is 1938. The cast is extremely skillful, and from this movie one can see how powerful this would be on the stage. I don't believe this Miller play is well known - it deserves to be known and viewed. It gave me, a young person and a non-Jew, a lot to think about. Bravo Mr. Miller.
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