6 March 2001 | doc-55
A compelling filming of the O'Neill play
It has been reported that Eugene O'Neill maintained that this was his favorite among films which had been based on his stage successes. Having seen many of the others, it is easy to believe this. It may be sacrilege to claim that Blanche Sweet's performance surpassed Greta Garbo's("Garbo talks"), but it seems so to me. Garbo comes across as mournful and somewhat pitiful, while Sweet conveys the kind of toughness one would expect from an "experienced"woman. Russell is more convincing as a rather immature "he-man" than is Bickford. The great Marie Dressler arguably brings too much of her own persona to the Marthy role; Besserer conveys the shrewdness that an aging woman survivor, and one can see her struggle over whether to unite Anna with her father, or to take care of herself first. The weakest performance is that of George Marion, who overacts the role of Chris. The production values and photography are serviceable; though expectedly not up to those from MGM, they give perhaps a more realistic view of a run-down waterfront scene.