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Moon For The Misbegotten

4.9 out of 5 stars (16) IMDb 8.6/10

Theatrical sparks flew when veteran Eugene O'Neill interpreters Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst joined forces in the celebrated 1973 revival of O'Neill's tender semi-autobiographical drama. In a towering performance, the great Robards portrays a cynical, self-hating alcoholic actor based on O'Neill's elder brother, Jamie. The majestic Colleen Dewhurst plays the earthy, gruff daughter of his scheming Irish tenant farmer (Ed Flanders), with whom the failed actor spends a soul-baring night of guilt-ridden confessions, tenderness, and absolution. Both Dewhurst and Flanders won Tony Awards for their performances.

Jason Robards, Colleen Dewhurst
2 hours, 15 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director José Quintero, Gordon Rigsby
Starring Jason Robards, Colleen Dewhurst
Supporting actors Ed Flanders, Edwin McDonough, John O'Leary
Studio Egami Media
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Written in 1943, it took "A Moon for the Misbegotten" over 30 years to find its place as one of the most important works in the Eugene O'Neill canon. First produced on Broadway in 1958, the play was originally dismissed as second-rate O'Neill. It took the powerhouse 1974 revival directed by Jose Quintero and starring Jason Robards, Colleen Dewhurst and Ed Flanders to finally earn O'Neill's painful reminiscence about his brother Jamie, unforgettably introduced to audiences in "Long Days Journey Into Night," the deserved accolade of "masterpiece."
The story is incidental: dirt farmers Josie and her father attempt to dupe their alcoholic landlord James Tyrone, Jr. into spending the night with Josie in the hopes of initiating a vague stab at retaliation against a scheme that Tyrone has hatched against him. But when the drunken lessor shows up for the assignation, what unfolds is a series of jolting revelations that leaves all of the characters - and the audience - emotionally spent, with only a lingering sense of compassion haunting their well-traveled spirits.
This DVD is the ABC television production of this landmark theatrical event, and admirers of great acting can only be thankful that the production was preserved on video. The performances of Jason Robards, repeating the role he created in the original Broadway production and film of "Long Day's Journey"; Ed Flanders, who received both the Tony Award for the Broadway production and the Emmy for the television presentation; and most especially Colleen Dewhurst, who is magnificent in her Tony Award-winning role as Josie, all offer such brilliantly moving performances that the memory of them will linger long after the final credits unspool.
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Format: DVD
This play revival marks the pinnacle of several noteworthy careers. Jose Quintero has made a reputation, in part, as his generation's foremost interpreter of O'Neill. Colleen Dewhurst was one of the great stage actresses of her time. Those aware of the history of the American Stage, know about Jason Robards' credentials when it comes to nailing down an O'Neill character. Throw in Hal Holbrooke for good measure, in ostensibly his finest stage performance apart from Mark Twain Tonight, and you've got a harmonic convergence of the highest order.
For those who were not lucky enough to watch the magic unfold on stage, this video will have to suffice. Though it suffers from the same limitations as other filmed versions of staged performances, it is nevertheless a record to be treasured by lovers of O'Neill, theatre fans, and connisseurs of great acting and directing everywhere and always.
Those of us who had the pleasure to know Jason Robards, know how close the actor's own past paralleled that of the character he portrayed in this play (James Tyrone, Jr.). Like Tyrone, Robards fought with his alcoholic demons. In his last decades, he conquered his disease, with the help of a strong, loving, Irish-American wife. Robards threw himself exhaustingly, night after night into this role, as did Dewhurst. The result was an evening of true catharsis, in the strict Greek sense of the word, for actors and audience. As Dewhurst cradles Robards in her pieta-like embrace and the lights fade out at the end of the play, we know we have all been changed by a profound confluence of talent and tears.
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Format: Amazon Video
The bulk of Eugene O'Neill's work was done between about 1914 and 1933, a period which saw him win Pulitzer Prizes for Beyond the Horizon, Anna Christie, and Strange Interlude as well as create such landmark plays as The Emperor Jones, The Hairy Ape, Desire Under the Elms, The Great God Brown, and Mourning Becomes Electra. But around 1933 O'Neill--who struggled against a host of personal demons--went silent. Although he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, most felt that he was burned out, written out, and that his career was over.

In 1947 O'Neill allowed the performance of a new work, A Moon for the Misbegotten, in Columbus, Ohio. Major critics did not exactly fall over themselves to see it and the reports that did leak through were not positive. The play was withdrawn and forgotten and O'Neill died in 1953. At that point, however, it became known that he had written several during the 1930s and 1940s that he had never released, his will specifying that they could not be performed until after his death. The treasure trove included two of his greatest works: The Iceman Commeth and Long Day's Journey Into Night, the latter of which was a painfully realistic portrait of his family and which won O'Neill yet another Pulitizer Prize. These plays prompted a renewed interest in O'Neill's work, and in 1957 A Moon For The Misbegotten at last opened on Broadway--where, in spite of a memorable cast that included Franchot Tone and Wendy Hiller--it was a mighty flop, playing a grand total of sixty-eight performances. Even so, the play had its champions, and a British televison production and a successful 1960s off-Broadway revival eventually led to a 1973 Broadway revival, directed by Jose Quintero and starring Collen Dewhurst, Jason Robards, and Ed Flanders.
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