Right now, I’m the curtain puller for our school’s production of the play. My field of vision backstage is really small. I figured I would watch the movie version just to see what the audience sees.
A radio host causes mayhem amongst a family after he slips on ice outside their home.
At first, I was intrigued because there was footage that featured locations outside the home, the only set in the play (or at least our production). But as soon as we go inside, there is no escape, save for a few telephone conversations. It is also inside the home that the camera moves about the set like it was a play. Oh wait…
The performances were subpar. OK, so I may have been too comfortable with the rehearsals I’ve seen and kept comparing those performances with this version. But really, Bert Jefferson’s “drunk” acting sounds like his sober acting. Jimmy Durante as Banjo is really the highlight of the film. After nearly an hour or so of polite laughing in my head, he was a nice part of the film.
Taking this in context, I suppose the audience at the time didn’t go to see this expecting character depth. Bert and Maggie are really the only people involved that have an arc that comes to a satisfactory resolution. Sheridan just is and learns nothing in the end.
If you need to see this because your school or theater is doing a production of it, you might as well but I wouldn’t expect much.