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Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg (1972)

A young married couple, a school teacher (Alan Bates) and an actress (Janet Suzman) have a daughter with severe cerebral palsy (she's in a wheelchair and unable to speak) and the child requires round the clock attention and it's taking its toll on their marriage. They cope with the situation with humor but the husband is starting to have fantasies of killing the child. Based on the 1967 play by Peter Nichols (who adapted his play for the screen) which was a success both on the London stage and the Broadway stage and directed by Peter Medak (THE RULING CLASS). This is a very English black comedy and although Nichols tweaks it with cinematic touches, its theatrical origins are very much in evidence. Its politically incorrect humor isn't as funny as it thinks it is or perhaps more likely, it's English sensibility isn't to my taste. Although he didn't create the role on the stage, Alan Bates' performance is very theatrical but thankfully Janet Suzman gives a more natural performance. While I can appreciate the pessimism of the situation and admire Nichols for keeping the play's bleak ending, it's still a very difficult film to sit through and frankly, I didn't laugh at all. With Joan Hickson, Peter Bowles, Sheila Gish, Jean Marsh and Murray Melvin.  

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