Tuesday, January 08, 2008

O'Neill Festival at Provincetown Playhouse: O'Neill's Favorite Film

Think of John Wayne in a movie directed by John Ford. "The Searchers?" "Fort Apache?" "The Quiet Man?" "Rio Grande?" "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence?" All are correct answers, but not the one we're looking for.

Imagine Wayne cast as an able-bodied Swedish seaman, complete with accent, and you have him in Eugene O'Neill's "The Long Voyage Home." Ole Olsen, who just wants to get back to his mother on the farm in Sweden. Motif, anyone?
Ed Berkeley, Julliard, director, Sea Plays
Photo credit: Patricia Jameson-Sammartano
"Voyage" is really four O'Neill plays distilled into one:"Bound East for Cardiff"(1916), "In the Zone"(1917), "The Long Voyage Home"(1917), and "The Moon of the Caribees"(1918). Dudley Nichols gets the screenwriting credit. The movie was filmed in 1940, explaining the references to the Fifth Column and the World War II propaganda.
John Ford's well-cast ensemble included a seaman of every ethnic type(the beginnings of political correctness masquerading as assimilation?), including Thomas Mitchell, who had played Gerald O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind" the year before. Mildred Natwick, who would play the Widow Tillane, Barry Fitzgerald, Michaleen Oge Flynn, and Ward Bond, Father Lonergan, all in "The Quiet Man," were also in "The Long Voyage Home."
Proving, we guess, that a good ensemble knows how to stay together.
According to the Internet Movie Database, this was Eugene O'Neill's favorite film; John Ford gave him a print and he watched it so many times, he wore it out.
Next up: "The Iceman Cometh" and Wednesday evening,"Anna Christie" with post- screening discussion by Liam Neeson.
Patricia Jameson-Sammartano
Culture Editor, WGT

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