HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Helldriver
One Hour to Zero
Battle of Billy's Pond, The
Terror in Beverly Hills
Zoo Robbery, The
Anoop and the Elephant
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
Up the Academy
Darling Lili
Tehran Taboo
   
 
Newest Articles
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
   
 
  Iceman Cometh, The They'll Drink To ThatBuy this film here.
Year: 1973
Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Lee Marvin, Fredric March, Robert Ryan, Jeff Bridges, Bradford Dillman, Sorrell Booke, Hildy Brooks, Juno Dawson, Evans Evans, Martyn Green, Moses Gunn, Clifton James, John McLiam, Stephen Pearlman, Tom Pedi, George Voskovec, Don McGovern, Bart Burns
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1912 and Larry Slade (Robert Ryan) is the only customer awake in this bar, as it is early in the morning and the rest of the patrons have drunk themselves into oblivion the night before. He used to be a major player in revolutionary politics, but now has settled for living the rest of his life with a bottle never too far away, and indeed the rest of the customers each had their own pipe dream they hoped to fulfil, yet have wound up looking at the bottom of a glass every evening, trying not to think about what could have been had they been able to succeed at the most difficult game to play: human existence. These men have been defeated, but then enters another who holds out a hope for this life, young anarchist Don Parritt (Jeff Bridges), who has sought out advice from Larry: will this reawaken the old man's fervour?

Nope, is the answer to that after four hours of adapting the classic Eugene O'Neill play, though you could also see this in a three hour cut, which begged the question, if you were up for committing yourself to sitting through this titan of the stage here in movie form, why would you settle for the shorter version when you could go the whole hog and experience it for the full stretch? Of course, some did not have a choice, but there was an interesting story behind what must have sounded like a deeply uncommercial project even in 1973 when it was first released. It was part of the American Film Theater efforts, an independent drive to get classic plays shot and released to subscribing patrons who would rather see big movie stars act out these works than more dedicated theatre performers, or, if that novelty did not appeal, because this was the only way they had access to the material.

A noble enterprise, yet doomed to failure thanks to the eccentric manner they were put on show, apparently designed not for convenience but for making it as difficult as possible to see the things unless you were available on a couple of specific evenings of their distribution. It will come as no surprise to learn the whole affair was a complete disaster financially, in spite of them getting over a dozen of these plays completed before the cameras and into the cinemas, they tried to give them a more conventional distribution after that initial mess, but it was too late and it went down in history as one of the more baffling examples of self-sabotage in film. Mind you, not everyone who actually saw these movies was convinced the AFT had even made a decent fist of them, as the purists were wont to complain about the staging and even the casting. One exception was The Iceman Cometh, which was deemed unfairly screwed over by the company.

That was down largely to, if we're being honest, sentimental reasons: it was the last film of both Robert Ryan (who was not only playing a dying man, but was afflicted by terminal lung cancer at the time) and Fredric March (an old school star demonstrating fire remained in his belly for his final bow). They were both very fine, bringing out the pathos in their characters while also leaving us in no doubt of their thwarted hopes that would never be achieved, but then most of the actors here were adept at that (as opposed to the actresses, who were left as stick figure objects of weary desire). Lee Marvin, as the iceman Hickey, a traveling salesman who before has lifted everyone's spirits, was not the first choice for the role, as Jason Robards Jr was regarded as owning the part in one of the great matches between actor and material in American theatre; for whatever reason (a recent car accident, or ironically his own alcoholism) he was not available, but Marvin proved himself an excellent dramatic performer, pulling off the famous monologue at the end with aplomb, if a little touch of melodrama too. Director John Frankenheimer did nothing to open this out, leaving an intense, sepia-hued examination of useless men drowning their sorrows until they realise even drowning doesn't help. For all its quality, it remained best seen on the stage.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 637 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Frankenheimer  (1930 - 2002)

American director, from television, who really shone in the sixties with intelligent suspense movies and dramas like Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Seven Days in May, Seconds and Grand Prix, but lost his touch from the seventies onward, with titles like The Iceman Cometh, 99 and 44/100% Dead, Black Sunday, Prophecy, The Holcroft Covenant, 52 Pick-Up, Dead Bang and The Island of Dr Moreau standing out, not always for the right reasons. Thriller Ronin was his swan song.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
   

 

Last Updated: