7.3/10
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63 user 46 critic

The Dead (1987)

PG | | Drama | 18 December 1987 (USA)
Gabriel Conroy and wife Greta attend an early January dinner with friends at the home of his spinster aunts, an evening which results in an epiphany for both of them.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

James Joyce (short story from "Dubliners"), Tony Huston (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Helena Carroll Helena Carroll ... Aunt Kate
Cathleen Delany Cathleen Delany ... Aunt Julia
Rachael Dowling Rachael Dowling ... Lily
Kate O'Toole Kate O'Toole ... Miss Furlong (as Katherine O'Toole)
Bairbre Dowling Bairbre Dowling ... Miss Higgins
Maria Hayden Maria Hayden ... Miss O'Callaghan
Cormac O'Herlihy Cormac O'Herlihy ... Mr. Kerrigan
Colm Meaney ... Mr. Bergin
Ingrid Craigie ... Mary Jane
Dan O'Herlihy ... Mr. Brown
Anjelica Huston ... Gretta
Donal McCann ... Gabriel
Sean McClory ... Mr. Grace (as Seán McClory)
Frank Patterson Frank Patterson ... Bartell D'Arcy
Marie Kean ... Mrs. Malins
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Storyline

On the lightly snowy evening of January 6, 1904 in Dublin, elderly spinster sisters Kate and Julia and their niece, Mary Jane - all music teachers or performers, past or present - are hosting their annual Epiphany party and dinner, and, with the exception of Mary Jane's new crop of students and the young gentlemen tasked with keeping them company, most of the guests have attended in previous years. Kate and Julia's nephew Gabriel and his wife Gretta hold integral roles for the evening, Gabriel, who, in addition to being Freddy Malins caregiver if he gets too drunk as is often the case, is to carve the dinner goose and provide the evening's main toast, while Gretta is to present the pudding. With the added unexpected excitement provided by Irish nationalist Molly Ivors for Gabriel, the party basically goes according to script. As most of the guests have departed and just before Gabriel and Gretta are to do the same - this year they staying in a downtown hotel instead of making the long... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A vast, merry, and uncommon tale of love.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | Ireland | USA | West Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Huston's The Dead See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$69,074, 20 December 1987

Gross USA:

$4,370,078
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's source short story by James Joyce is described by the DVD's sleeve notes as "perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English language literature". See more »

Quotes

Gabriel Conroy: Who was he?
Gretta Conroy: He was something at the Gasworks.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Ten minutes of the film have been omitted from the 2009 DVD release. See more »


Soundtracks

"For He's a Jolly God Fellow' (uncredited)
Traditional American and British song
Sung by Donal McCan and guests to his aunts and cousin at Christmas table
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THe crowning of a career
27 June 2001 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

John Huston was seriously ill when he made his final achievement,and it's thoroughly his testament:uncompromising,difficult ,a thousand miles away from crazes and fashions,it will stand as the best "last film" you can ever dream of.A very austere screenplay,no action,no real hero,but a group of people coping with the vanity of life,the fleeting years and death.The party doesn't delude people for long.Admittedly,warmth and affection emanate from the songs and the meal,complete with turkey and pudding.But the passage of time has partly ruined Julia's voice,first crack in the mirror.Then the camera leaves the room where the guests are gathered and searches the old lady's bedroom.For sure,hers seems to have been a happy life,but it's a life inexorably coming to an end-A shot shows towards the end of the movie Julia on her future deathbed-.Maybe an unfulfilled life,because she remained a spinster,with no children to carry on .Only some poor things,yellowish photographs,bibelots and trinklets.... But are a human being's hopes and dreams all fulfilled?Look at Gretta.She 's a married woman ,about thirty-five,she's still beautiful and healthy but she knows something is broken.What Julia is today,she will be tomorrow,that's why,in her stream of consciousness,she goes back to her past,only to find out how harrowing her memories are: a young man committed suicide for her,a symbol of her youth now waning.The final monologue,if we listen closely to it,involves us all in this eternal tragedy,the doomed to failure human condition,John Huston's masterly lesson.


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