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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Skeletons in the closet weave the essential tapestry that ties this singular family together, drawn by the immortal Eugene O'Neill in a story that was partly drawn by his own life. The Tyrone family represent the American Family at its utmost worst: father James (Ralph Richardson is a broken man, a former theatre actor who committed a specific act of stinginess against his own family and caused its downfall; oldest son Jamie (Jason Robards) is an alcoholic who, while he loves his younger brother Edmund (Dean Stockwell) very much, can't stand his brilliance at writing; Edmund has tuberculosis and is privy to every second in which his family eats itself alive, and mother Mary (Katharine Hepburn) has fallen victim to her addiction to morphine and has a scant hold on her reality.

    Sidney Lumet, who has brought unto film some of the most powerful dramas screened on audiences, does magic with O'Neill's play, and while the film itself clocks in right under three hours, the intensity of this foursome's relationships with one another never makes it feel that long. All of the actors receive an equal amount of screen time, and display moments of fury and anguish and desperation under duress. Katharine Hepburn, though, lays herself bare with the gamut of emotions she conveys with her role -- forget Dorothy Parker's comment about her acting range going from A to B -- this is her most intense, frightening role, one where her pain surfaces and her own vague knowledge that she is a prisoner to her own addiction taking hold of her, more so because she can't do anything to stop herself and vehemently denies any intervention from her family. Her Mary is a walking ghost, a woman totally lost, aware but not aware. Jason Robards, an actor I've seen in more recent films, brings forth rage and self-pity to his own role as the Cain of this family: when he tells Edmund late in the film to leave because he is dangerous, one look into his eyes and we can see it. Ralph Richardson plays the father who can't help his family and seems somewhat at a loss. Stockwell's Edmund is really the innocent of the bunch, a boy who has to see the outrageous ugliness which dominates his family, who with luck, will survive it. This is a very devastating film to watch because of the slow disintegration of the central characters, and because there are so few of them and no comic relief, all we can do is watch, albeit from an intellectual distance.
  • This film version of the great American play is powerful and devastating. The cast is excellent. Hepburn is able to show the alterations in her character with subtle horror.

    This story is a study in how humans lose themselves in the fog of drugs, alcohol, sex, disease, and other escapes from reality. None of the characters is willing to take responsibility for what is happening, and therefore they drift deeper and deeper into the night. The real horror is the fact that they could save themselves, but they never come out of the past or the fog long enough to take the first step.

    The emotional impact of the play is incredibly powerful even as it is underplayed. This is one of the few films of a play that really works well and translates the emotions of the stage onto the screen without losing the depth and the catharsis.
  • I just caught an interview with Sam Shephard on Fresh Air where he mentions that this movie was one of the reasons he got interested in the theater. He talked about the great performances of Jason Robards, Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell, and Katherine Hepburn. My memory of the movie goes back to the late 60's in Berkeley when I had just seen a performance of the play by the Berkeley Rep and then watched the film shortly thereafter in an on campus showing. I, too, was blown away by these performances. In my mind, they rank up there with the very best in the history of film as an ensemble piece of acting. The direction by Sidney Lumet was outstanding and the screenplay remained true to the original play which has never been a common practice in Hollywood. Perhaps these characters resemble members of my family a little too much but they have not been forgotten in the 30 plus years since I last saw the film.
  • For what Eugene O'Neill expected to be his epitaph work, he wrote Long Day's Journey Into Night in 1942 with instructions to his third wife Carlota Monterey, that it be not performed until 25 year after his death. We should have first been seeing it in 1977, but the rights reverted to Yale University and they broke the O'Neill instructions and published the play in 1956 and it made it's Broadway debut in 1957. All of the four principal members of the cast got Tony Nominations with Fredric March winning the Tony that year. Wife Florence Eldridge played the drug addicted Mary Tyrone and the sons were played by Jason Robards, Jr. and Bradford Dillman.

    Odd that Fredric March who certainly was a movie name was not asked to repeat his performance, but Ralph Richardson certainly fills in for him ably. Jason Robards, Jr. was the only member of the original Broadway cast to repeat his part for the screen as the drunken and whoring older brother. Younger brother Edmund the prototype for O'Neill himself is played here by Dean Stockwell.

    However in the only film she did between Suddenly Last Summer in 1959 and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner in 1967 was cast Katherine Hepburn as the mother who because of her drug addiction descends into madness. She got an Oscar nomination, but lost to Anne Bancroft in The Miracle Worker.

    O'Neill when he died was acclaimed as America's foremost dramatist and many will say he is still that today. Long Day's Journey Into Night is short on plot, but long and deep on characterization. The whole action of the play takes place in 1912 on a summer's day at the home of James Tyrone acclaimed matinée idol of a bygone era with Tyrone and his family. Eugene O'Neill wanted to show us where he came from and why he had the attitudes he did and he succeeded beyond even his own imagination.

    The Tyrones are the O'Neills. In more ways than one I might add. O'Neill was the family name of the Earl of Tyrone who back in Queen Elizabeth's Tudor England was the uncrowned King Of Ireland. O'Neill knew full well the rank he had attained in his own profession and was claiming literary royalty so to speak.

    Ralph Richardson as James Tyrone/O'Neill was an actor of great promise who got acclaim for performing as The Count of Monte Cristo in a dramatization of Alexander Dumas's novel. He took easy success and performed the play so much the public would not see him as anything else. Certainly actors try to avoid typecasting and while the play made him rich eventually the public bored of it and him. Knowing that money was not coming in, he invested frugally into real estate. Some call it frugal, some call it cheap.

    During the difficult birth of Eugene/Edmund, Mary Tyrone/O'Neill developed an addiction to morphine, mainly because Richardson went to a cheap quack. The American stage had not seen a descent into madness like this since Jessica Tandy in Streetcar Named Desire. Though she was nominated for this performance and won four Academy Awards for other films, this may be Katherine Hepburn's best work. It's also one of the few substantial women's roles in any of Eugene O'Neill's plays. You will not forget Hepburn in this part.

    Jason Robards, Jr. was older brother James Tyrone/O'Neill. He's several years older than his younger brother and there was another son who died in infancy between them. He's not got his brother's talent for writing and as an actor, he's followed his father and taken the easy road to dissipation himself. Both are carousers, but Richardson's a has been, and Robards will become a never was.

    The Tyrone/O'Neill family is all recorded through the perceptive eyes of Dean Stockwell. This was Eugene O'Neill's way of taking us into a dark corner of his past, he's letting us know as few humans on the planet ever did as to what made him tick.

    Once seen Long Day's Journey Into Night is never forgotten.
  • When you read them from a book, Eugene O'Neill's plays seem kind of flat. The dialog seems ordinary and uninspired compared to more poetic U.S. playwrights like Tennessee Williams.

    But the brilliant acting in this film version of "Long Day's Journey" - especially the delicately nuanced work of Katharine Hepburn as the mother and a sensitive performance by Dean Stockwell as the younger son - shows me what a magnificent playwright O'Neill was. At times this tragic play seems almost Shakespearean.
  • This is a typically dark, fine-grained O'Neill work that becomes almost overwhelmed with its own moodiness. Hepburn plumbs some psychological depths here as the drug-addicted mother. Richardson is fine as well, but it is disappointing that double-Oscar winner Fredric March, who won a Tony for the role on Broadway, did not play Tyrone is the screen version. We do get to see Jason Robards recreate his role, and his experience clearly comes through. This is continually penetrating vision of a family that perhaps is not as dysfunctional as "normal" families would like to believe. A disturbing film well worth seeing.
  • bross37 November 1999
    Although this film retains the feel of a stage production, this seems to heighten the tension and emphasize how amazing these performances really are.

    I've always felt that the play is well-suited to being filmed in black and white. The lack of color seems to bring out even more of the dreary agony that the characters are going through, as well as making the fog seem even more dismal and real.

    Because O'Neill's play is apparently autobiographical, the suffering is amplified intensely. This film is a fantastic drama--but because of the length (around 3 hours) and the anguish that the characters go through, you need to be sure you're in the right mood before you sit down to watch it.
  • How fortunate we are to have so fine a production of one of Eugene O'Neill's most personal revelations permanently preserved on film. What marvelous casting: Katherine Hepburn, Sir Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards, Jr., and Dean Stockwell. This skillful quartet works together with perfect intonation, assisted ably by Sidney Lumet's perceptive direction and Andre Previn's haunting piano score. If possible see the full-length 174 minute version as originally presented to get the film's full impact.
  • His full name was Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, and it sort of explains his background. Born in 1888, his father was James O'Neill, then one of the most promising actors on the American stage. The Gladstone represented (as did the O'Neill) the Irish heritage. O'Neill is an important name in Irish history - a proud name. The O'Neill family was an ancient aristocratic Irish family that ran (as Earls) the county of Tyrone. If you saw THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ELIZABETH AND ESSEX / ELIZABETH THE QUEEN with Bette Davis and Errol Flynn, Flynn is sent to Ireland to put down a "revolt" led by Alan Hale, the Earl of Tyrone. Flynn fails in this. Historically Tyrone destroyed at least three English armies and their commanders (Essex was the second one) between 1590 and 1610. He was finally driven out of Ireland in defeat, but he was never forgotten by the Irish people for his bravery and leadership. The Gladstone was in honor of British Prime Minister William Gladstone, who supported (in 1888) Charles Stewart Parnell's Home Rule scheme for Ireland. James O'Neill (like most Irish Catholics) wanted to see his homeland free or self-governing.

    I bring this out because the name given by Eugene O'Neill to his stage family (representing his own) is "Tyrone". This is a tip of the hat to his illustrious relative.

    O'Neill had had a hard early life. A good looking young man, he had been driven to drink by the disintegration of his family. But he had sufficient stamina to pull himself together and make his name as a dramatist. In fact, to this day, he remains America's greatest dramatist. Much of his best writing (particularly in his last fifteen years) was based on autobiographical material that screamed for staging.

    James O'Neill had (as said above) been a leading Shakespearean actor - a possible successor to Edwin Booth as the best one. But in the 1890s, with two living sons and a wife, O'Neill stumbled upon a hack melodramatic version of Alexandre Dumas Sr.'s THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. He soon was making fantastic (for that period) box office in that ramshackle play. He never stopped appearing in it. It was not unheard of (Joseph Jefferson, another actor of that period, kept returning to his role of RIP VAN WINKLE, and Frank Mayo to the play DAVY CROCKETT), but it ruined O'Neill as a Shakespearean. In the meantime, because O'Neill had been a poor man, he tended to do things cheaply to save money. When his wife gave birth to Eugene, it was a difficult birth and the doctor (a cheap one) used morphine to remove the pain. Mrs. O'Neill became hooked.

    The oldest surviving son James or Jamie was a disappointment as a newspaper reporter, and became an alcoholic. A middle son named Edmund died in childhood (this is referred to in the movie as the dead middle son "Eugene", a clever switch of names by Eugene O'Neill between his dead baby brother's character and his own stage character. Also Eugene had become a seaman (which would give him material for many of his early plays), but had lived in a flop house (the background for the earlier masterpiece, THE ICEMAN COMETH), and developed tuberculosis (but managed to lick it).

    All this has to be kept in mind when watching this film (or just seeing the play or reading it). The family life of Eugene O'Neill was a disaster, and he was honest enough to present it to the world in his last decade in this marvelous play - the first one about a truly dysfunctional family since KING LEAR, only this one is middle class. All four stars are superb in their roles - although to me the performance of Jason Robarts (who became the leading interpreter of O'Neill in the late 20th Century) is the best. Ralph Richardson manages to squeeze some needed humor out of the tightwad James Sr. Katherine Hepburn's performance as the drug addicted Mary Tyrone is heart breaking. Dean Stockwell manages to suggest that maybe he can still break out of this Greek Tragedy family, whose members succeed in impaling each other all the time.

    Also take a moment to notice the fifth member of the cast, Jeanne Barr. Her performance as the maid Kathleen is usually not spoken of - but she does nicely in the scene with the drugged Hepburn,who is talking of how she gave up her two deepest wishes when she married Richardson. Ms Barr made only three appearances in film (this was her second), before dying in 1967 - the first cast member to pass away.
  • A long descent into the sick heart of a family that is as dysfunctional as any to ever hit the silver screen. This movie covers, in sometimes tedious detail, the idiosyncrasies of each member of the family. Mom, (Kate Hepburn) in an Oscar-worthy performance as the center of the family and a drug addict. She is almost too convincing as someone on the edge. Dad, (Richardson) as the miserly father too cheap to even give his sick wife and son the proper medical treatment. And the 2 sons played by Stockwell and Robards as the demented and damaged off-shoots of 2 very fragile human beings. If you look closely, O'Neil has made it so that it seems each individual is responsible for the way the family has turned out. And so it is with all of us. It is not just our parents but ourselves that effect the family tree and its health or lack of it.
  • It takes patience to sit through a 3-hour long movie, even if it is a re-creation of the greatest work of drama written in this country during the 20th century. I personally took a break in the middle of this film, ate dinner, and then came back and watched the rest of it. But Act IV I saw intact. Thank God. It was one of the most intense and insightful moments I have ever seen in a movie, revealing exactly how the present is inextricably bound up with the past. The lives of the characters are representative of OUR lives. Ralph Richardson and Jason Robards were powerful and shattering. Dean Stockwell was also quietly intense, and only Katharine Hepburn struck an incongruous note with her grotesque performance. Then again, in the context of the film, it makes sense for her character to be split off from the others. Have patience with this film - it takes a _long_ time to get to where it's going, but once it gets there, it has the potential to change the way you look at the world. Andre Previn's brief but haunting piano theme is incredibly effective; Sidney Lumet's direction is stagebound but competent. While it is true that O'Neill may never have written this masterpiece if he weren't a dissolute drunkard, think how many masterpieces he could have written if he'd been sober!
  • meldada5 May 2014
    Deeply rich with performances for the ages. The director never imposes himself to trample the magnificent writing of Eugene O'Neill. He directs his actors for pitch perfect, highly emotional performances. The camera angles and movements and lighting never draw attention to themselves but support and enhance this deeply engrossing effort. Here is one of the most powerful theatre works committed to film. Ms Hepburn turns in her best performance of her long and brilliant career. She is magnetic. The others too, the men, are all on key. They make acting look easy, but these are very challenging dramatic roles. I will never forget the performances of the men in this film. Jason Robards, Dean Stockwell and Ralph Richardson. They will 'live forever' with this breathtaking movie. For more understanding of this film and others in Sidney Lumet's canon read his great book, Making Movies. He goes into details about directing Ms Hepburn and the acting style of Mr Richardson. He also describes the shooting style employed for this picture.
  • Let me elaborate a little on this title - I don't think any of the four major players failed to do an exceptional work on this film, I just happen to think Katharine Hepburn's portrayal of Mary Tyrone's character does Eugene O'Neil's play most justice and herself an outstanding tragedienne's performance on film, a reason enough for all of us to be thankful!
  • robwms638 June 2007
    I ran into this film the first time maybe 8 years ago. I had read the play in HS, and at first found it plodding and boring, then was drawn into it very intensely, and went on and read a bunch of other O'Neill, but had never seen any of his work performed. Apparently, there was talk amongst actors about making time disappear when works are really great. This work does that for me, the 3h go by in no time, the whole rest of the world just recedes while it's on.

    This is the greatest filmed play I've ever seen. I love the direction (Sidney Lumet is one of the most underrated directors of all time), and the 4 performances are superb.) KH is from another planet, gliding in and out of the deluded, once-beautiful Midwestern bud, into the paranoid, addicted victim. I love Ralph Richardson as the father; he perfectly blends the haminess of the actor with the male chuminess, trying to be a father, but also a friend to his sons. Jason Robards is one of the great actors of all time. The first time I saw this movie, the loudest aspects of his part, because they were most in my face, seemed to be where the meat was. Having just seen it again, his whole story of choosing Fat Vi for his night of debauched tenderness in town became the kind of epic poetic center of the film with everything else in orbit about it (looking back all the way to Aeschylus and forward/sideways to Faulkner). Interestingly, O'Neill himself is the least interesting character. That, in itself, speaks volumes about the work.
  • This is likely Katharine Hepburn's greatest screen performance in a career that spanned over six decades. Tackling Eugene O'Neill's morphine-addicted Mary Tyrone must have been daunting at the time, but this 1962 film version of the playwright's autobiographical masterwork is a blazing showcase for not only her formidable talent but her male co-stars as well. Set right after the turn of the last century, it follows a summer day in the life of the Tyrones, as dysfunctional a family as one could possibly imagine. Ex-actor James Tyrone Sr. is the titular head of the family, a miserly alcoholic actor whose sanctimonious attitude has his family unable to cope with their feelings in constructive ways. His wife Mary is a faded beauty defiantly denying both her condition and that of her youngest son Edmund. Edmund has just returned from a few years on the seas but has contracted tuberculosis. Older son Jamie is a failed actor, a wastrel who has become an alcoholic and resentful of his father's stinginess in not being able to send Edmund to a good sanitarium.

    The movie is really a series of confrontations and long recollections. As the story progresses, we learn that each of the family members, instead of bonding over Edmund's illness, is gradually retreating into private hellish worlds and that the inability to peacefully cohabitate stems from an inability to move on from events long passed. Even though they are all obviously intelligent people, they refuse to get past their disappointments, and we are left to witness the repercussions of how their choices have affected their relationships and most tragically, how their relationships have informed their choices. What makes spending three hours with this quartet worthwhile is the fact that O'Neill transcends the melodramatic aspects by honing in mercilessly on each one's strengths and frailties. He avoids the talkiness of a stage play by imbuing a sublimely lyrical use of language that captures a profound sense of beauty amid the overwhelming tragedy.

    Director Sidney Lumet remains faithful to the text and emphasizes the play's substantial dramatic force by focusing very specifically on the four actors. Hepburn's head-shaking was beginning around this time, and it actually feeds effectively into the character's constant sense of loss and paranoia. She has several great moments, such as Mary's giggly remembrance of her first encounter with James and the demented stupor she displays near the end as she carries her old wedding dress around. A somewhat rigid Ralph Richardson plays James Sr. with appropriate stentorian fervor, though honestly I would have liked to have seen either Fredric March, who originated the role on Broadway, or ironically Spencer Tracy play this role, especially as the play deals heavily with Irish Catholic guilt. Jason Robards has been so inextricably connected with O'Neill in the intervening years that it is no surprise to see him superbly interpret the role of Jamie with alternate flashes of fury and poignancy. As Edmund, Dean Stockwell is a revelation as the O'Neill doppelganger, the emotional core of the play who takes the family's one positive step of forgiving his father and brother for their faults in the climax. Additional credit needs to be given to cinematographer Boris Kaufman whose fluid work here makes the camera an integral part of the experience by lending depth and range to the scenes that could not have been captured onstage. True, it can be an emotionally draining film for the uninitiated, but it is more importantly, a powerful realization of one of the undisputed classics of the American stage.
  • This movie is a compelling illustration of the dark human emotions that afflicted famous author, Eugene O'Neal!! "Long Day's Journey Into Night" is an account of the somber trenches that reflects Eugene O'Neal's life when he was growing up!! Eugene O'Neal writes this wonderful work of art, and "Long Day's Journey Into Night" became the recipient of a Tony award!! This dramatic query of Eugene O'Neal's life evokes a bevy of stellar accomplishments which became an auspicious mark of theatrical excellence!! This intellectually spellbinding stage play was later made into a major motion picture!! Famous director, Sydney Lumet, (Most famous for "Network") directs this masterpiece, and convincingly asserts an intentionally dreary aura of sadness and miserly despondence which author, Eugene O'Neal, articulated with such a succinct accountability!! The acting is uncompromising, basically second to none: This movie stars; Katherine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards, and Dean Stockwell!! All of the characters in this movie have been victimized by one form of abuse after the next!! The father, being an Irish immigrant in the late 1800's, grew up his whole life having been labeled a non-refined American.... Regardless of money, the Tyrones were categorized as shanty Irish!! The older brother, (Jason Robards) was a disgruntled drunk who drummed up all kinds of excuses for his resounding failure as an adult!! The Mother (Katherine Hepburn) was a drug addict, her love for her family was ossified and obtuse by the demeanor with which it was expedited... Her family's problems were always seen through rose colored glasses!! The youngest son, (aka) Eugene O'Neal, (Played by Dean Stockwell) was the misunderstood underling who became plagued with consumption... The intensity of emotions in this movie were incredible... The entire family was keenly aware of all of their adversities which were dragging them down (i.e. alcohol, penuriousness, sleeping pills and morphine, and consumption) and yet, they also knew that they were not strong enough to overcome them... The psychological perspectives that the Tyrone family got relegated to were accurately portrayed in terms of the realistic cynicism which inevitably ensued with their lives!! If the situation changes, it will only change for the worse!! The pitfall of human despair prevailed as an ugly adversary that decimated virtually every one of the Tyrones.... For Eugene O'Neal, the petty consolation prize for having such a dark and ugly citadel of unhappiness for a home life, was that he became a marvelous writer... The Tyrone family's attitudes and feelings were desperately real, they mirrored the sorry end result which was caused by the unfortunate decisions that all of these four people made!! These decisions gridlocked each and every one of them, and manufactured a genre of arctic desolation which centralized their aggregate misery right down to the core of a dreadfully genuine ideological doom!! These feelings manifested a crystal clear conceptualization of hopelessness that the Tyrone family was perennially burdened with!! I thought "Long Day's Journey Into Night" was one of the best movies I have ever seen.. The acting, the directing, and the writing, were all by the best in the business... Cerebral torment is not always pleasant to witness, but, the authenticity of such a fate is empathetically indulged with a pejorative passion in this film!! The motif of rivalry and bitterness in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" is depressing with a capital D, then again, that was the movie's intention... Having explained that, it is extremely safe to say that "Long Days Journey Into Night" is a film which is; AN ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT ONE!!!!
  • Lapsed-Catholic, Irish-American family living on lakefront Connecticut estate in the 1900s comes apart at the seams: patriarch Ralph Richardson harbors great disappointment in his two grown sons (one growing ill with consumption), and his relationship with deluded, delusional, drug-addicted wife Katharine Hepburn has taken its toll as well. Autobiographical play by Eugene O'Neill can hardly be faulted; it's an American classic on the stage, full of pain and rage and melancholy. Yet the one thing it does lack is a self-effacing sense of humor--anything light or even sarcastic to help the audience wade through the intricacies of this family's strangled tapestry. The play has been preserved intact by filmmaker Sidney Lumet, with every hurtful pause and regretful remark frozen on film. With so many sequences heavy with remorse and pain, the nearly three-hour running time becomes something of a chore. The performances are mostly solid (though I did tire of Jason Robards' constant, disapproving braying), but the handling is all on one note; nothing is toyed with so there are no nuances or revelations. It's all been laid out very carefully, but some may feel it difficult staying with these characters for such a long period. ** from ****
  • Sidney Lumet's Long Day's Journey into Night is a straightforward stage-to-screen transcription of Eugene O'Neill's exhaustive delineation of family life in the l9l0s. Regarded as O'Neill's masterpiece, this thick, disquieting and intimate piece abides on Broadway and in regional theater, with every actor and actress scrapping to play one of the remarkably baroque roles. In this version, Katharine Hepburn plays Mary Tyrone, the morphine-addicted wife-mother, Ralph Richardson is her authoritarian, egotistic actor husband, Dean Stockwell is the young son Edmund dying of TB, and Jason Robards as the alcoholic son Jamie. Unlike a lot of American films based on stage plays, this adaptation is absolutely filmic owing to a turning-point undertaking by director of photography Boris Kaufman, whose consummate camera movements lighting compositions focus our attention on every telling action and word of dialogue. Flaunting four overwhelming performances (five if you count the fleeting maid), this is ensemble acting at its very best.

    And so what is the theme here? What does it mean? Well…who knows? Sometimes a story comes along, expressed in a way that is so enormous, so all-encompassing, that no single theme or meaning can define it. Trying to conclusively characterize it confines something that must afford the greatest extent of whatever a given actor's, or a given viewer's, interpretation. Lumet's approach is not to direct the script, but to let the script direct him. A director who is considered great would've been determined to control it, to put his stamp on it, but true, absolute confidence in the skill of a director is the ability to allow oneself to trust everything and everyone around him. Lumet may have been below the radar compared to his generation's other star "auteurs," but there is no denying his clear and precise sense of economy has produced intense dramatic work.

    Usually, the uncertainty in the honorability or detestability of a character acts as the source of exploring each of them in deeper penetration, because a good writer, a good director, a good actor, ideally any given one of us, understands that each person is like us all. But in Long Day's Journey Into Night, no one is like any of us. The characters are on a descending flourish of monumental, disastrous dimension. The story baffles clarification. Do not fight this notion while watching this film. Few movies have required more patience; let it overtake you at its own pace, because the pace is the measure of the dramatic wallop.

    The final shot is of Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards and Dean Stockwell sitting around a table, each lost in their own enslaving pipe dreams, a distant lighthouse sweeping its beam across the room periodically, the camera pulling back slowly, the walls steadily disappearing. The family sits in a black oblivion, getting smaller and smaller, and the smaller they get, the larger we realize their impact has been on us.
  • There are many reviews here about this incredible work, and about Eugene Oneill's brilliance. I want only to add to these that this film contains the greatest acting performance in the history of films. Katharine Hepburn moves between intentions, emotions, layers, and states of mind at the speed of thought, with the greatest authenticity, range, and ease that has ever been captured on film. It is a masterpiece within a masterpiece, and shows one virtuoso creating an opportunity for another virtuoso to reach their ultimate expression. It is an unparalleled performance, it has no peers. The entire film is wonderful, with Oneill, Lumet, Richardson, Robards, and lovely Stockwell providing the framework for the best performance ever given by an on screen performer. Watch it.
  • In her long distinguished career, some of Katharine Hepburn's performances were mannered, while others were over-praised because of her near-mythic status. However, her Mary Tyrone in "Long Day's Journey into Night" was decidedly neither. Director Sidney Lumet crafted a meticulous filming of the Eugene O'Neill play without distracting from either the words or players with self conscious touches. But, the master director managed to keep his camera flawlessly positioned to capture the genius on display and maintain audience involvement. Boris Kaufman's low-key black-and-white cinematography was constrained by the largely one-set indoor stage, but managed to utilize light and shadow for timeless images of familial disintegration.

    The direction, cinematography, music, and editing all remain unobtrusive, however, so the incomparable work of a quartet of exceptional actors stays in focus. Dean Stockwell and Jason Robards play Jamie and Edmund Tyrone, the troubled sons of James Tyrone, an aging miserly actor. Like the two younger actors, Ralph Richardson has arguably done nothing that eclipses his work herein. O'Neill's masterwork is well served for posterity by the cast in this version. However, Katharine Hepburn raises a near-perfect record of a classic play to an even higher level. Hepburn's Mary Tyrone may not only be her finest screen work, but may rank among the greatest performances committed to celluloid. While day matures from morning to noon to night, the four Tyrones engage each other together and separately over issues that have simmered for a lifetime. Meanwhile, the day fades, and Hepburn's Mary descends from the light into the darkness as her grip on sanity ebbs with the sunlight and she retreats into the shadows of the Tyrones' dimly lit parlor.

    The film is nearly three hours long, but the words are rich, and the players obviously relish the lines. Patient viewers who seek familiarity with O'Neill's play could not find a better venue. Fans of any one of the four major cast members will find the film essential viewing, and those who want to see Katharine Hepburn at her apogee need look no further.
  • This is one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen. Eugene O'Neill has created characters that even mediocre actors could bring alive. But these aren't mediocre actors - they're powerful performers who make their roles shine. Long before John Bradshaw did his PBS specials on "dysfunctional families," we got this portrayal of a family disintegrating before our eyes. The movie sucks you in - you cannot avoid feeling the wounds that you share in common with each character, the compromises you've made, the times you've failed to be who you could be. Unlike the typical 45 minute psychotherapy session, this experience drills into your psyche for nearly three hours.

    And it's not three hours of boredom - it's three hours of sinking into the long dark night of your own soul. Enjoy it with a bag of popcorn and a tall glass of arsenic laced Koolaid.
  • The film spends one day and night with the dysfunctional Tyrone family. Mary Tyrone (Katharine Hepburn) is an unstable mother addicted in morphine that recalls moments of her life in the past to escape from her reality. The Irish patriarch James Tyrone (Ralph Richardson) is a cheap and alcoholic man and former successful actor. The older son Jamie Tyrone (Jason Robards) is an alcoholic idle man that loves and envies his brother and is blamed by his mother for the death of his younger brother. Edmund Tyrone (Dean Stockwell) is an aspiring writer that has consumption (tuberculosis) and tried to commit suicide.

    The theatrical "Long Day's Journey into Night" is an adaptation for the big screen of a play and recommended for fans of the author only. For average viewers, it is a long, boring and depressive film with a day of a dysfunctional American family from the beginning of the Twentieth Century. My vote is five.

    Title (Brazil): "Longa Jornada Noite Adentro" ("Long Journey Into Night")
  • onepotato226 January 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    Having discovered O'Neills Mourning Becomes Electra a few months ago, I was interested in viewing this. Long Day just doesn't work in this era, because it's idea of drama is so limited; O'Neill shoe-horns dialogue/conversation into every opening. These characters have logorrhea. They talk everything out, then they break up into smaller groups and talk it out some more, then they move on to other groupings and talk it out some more, finally, as a finale, they talk it out some more. Words, words, words, words, words, words... After 30 minutes, you understand the psycho-dynamics and there's no real point in paying attention anymore. At one point this was controversial stuff, but any man on the street is now extremely familiar with the addictive personality and its resultant enabling, bullying & emotional manipulation. This family's problems are nor compelling. The movie is clearly going nowhere. In every scene they push each other buttons, and say awful things to each other; outbursts of no particular importance arrive about every 8 minutes.

    Mourning Becomes Electra has somewhere to go, and revelations that matter to the story. LDJiN hashes and rehashes the same points over and over. MBE is even more stagy and dated, but it has some actual shocks to deliver. Hepburn acting 'overwrought' is too familiar from her success. Her hop-head is hysterically inaccurate. She just comes downstairs cheerful and chatty after shooting up. Richardson is by far the worst here; a charter member of the British elocution club. He has an inexpressive stone face, with no perceptible emotional range.

    Strictly for people convinced that a string of outbursts is the height of drama. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is it's spiritual sibling (and also a slog to watch!). But The Little Foxes is more acid, with superior structure.
  • It's my bias that any film should have some point to its creation. It can amuse, excite, titillate, move to romantic tears, etc. But...is it really enough for a film simply to depress one to death?

    Even "Angela's Ashes," heretofore the most depressing film I've ever seen, had its rare high points, notably in the epilogue in which the protagonist post-caps his positive life events after the film's ending (this doesn't count as a spoiler, does it?). "But Long Day's Journey" gives us NOTHING to hold onto at the end, with the possible exception of gratitude that we the viewers aren't more like the characters.

    I was also quite unimpressed with the acting (except for Hepburn)...overacting seemed to be the rule, possibly because it was the only way to squeeze some life from the trite, tired lines.

    Sorry, guys, and I know that I'll get flayed for this, but this is not a keeper in my book. And to top it all off...it's way too long!
  • In 1962 this movie may have come to Americans as a revelation about failed dreams. But, as of 2003, it comes across as very heavy handed, and cliche. Every character overacts in presenting their tragic fate, whining about how they were cheated of life by one another.

    On the one hand it's the actors who are trying to play roles too big for their britches. Dean Stockwell is particularly inept in his monologue about experiencing life intensely. He is better just playing the role of a wide-eyed kid, without any depth. Jason Robards brings absolutely no character or originality to his depiction of a drunk. Ralph Richardson's character is a ham, so I can't exactly blame him for continuously hamming it up. Still, you'd think he'd have been able to bring a little more depth when his turn at the revealing monologue came. Katharine Hepburn, of course, is completely overwrought throughout the film. I guess this should be excused because the characters are inebriated throughout half the film, but they're not even convincing at that. The characters are just mouthpieces for O'Niel to tell his hard-luck tales, which could be told better by being shown and not just told through monologues.

    So the fault of the film does not lie completely in the acting. There are some similarities between Eugene O'Niel's themes and Checkov and Strindberg, but the inferiority of the American playwright is clearly apparent. O'Niel treats the themes of marriage, family, codependancy in a much more superficial manner. The characters that O'Niel dreamt up are also very two dimensional and cliche.

    Morphine addiction is also presented inaccurately. Basically, Hepburn winds up acting even more drunk than the other drunks in the movie, and whines and carries on even more than they do. This might have fooled the average moviegoers of 1962, but just winds up looking ridiculous to today's audiences, who are used to much more realistic depictions of opiate use and abuse. The character's shock and upturned noses at "hop heads" and "dope fiends" seem equally ridiculous.

    All of this just shows that the movie really isn't about opiate addiction, or even alcoholism (which is what the opiate addiction is dressed up as). It's about wasted lives and being dealt a bum hand (oh no! echoes of the movie's corny slang are creeping in!). Unfortunately, none of these character's lives have been really all that bad. So the movie winds up being, unconsciously, about self-pity. The characters sit around and pity themselves for three hours. I can get an equivalent three hours of whining by hopping over to the corner bar. This is why O'Niel will always be a minor playwright, and another reason for this movie falling on its cliche 1962 behind.
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