HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
Anbessa
Man in Grey, The
Harakiri
Way to the Stars, The
Man Who Skied Down Everest, The
Bottoms Up!
   
 
Newest Articles
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
   
 
  Iceman Cometh, The They'll Drink To That
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: DramaBuy from Amazon
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 1580 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
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: