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The Dead

Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Huston
Produced by Chris Sievernich
Wieland Schulz-Keil
Written by Tony Huston
James Joyce (original story)
Starring Anjelica Huston
Donal McCann
Dan O'Herlihy
Donal Donnelly
Helena Carroll
Cathleen Delany
Release date(s) December 17, 1987
Running time 83 min
Language English

The Dead is a 1987 film directed by John Huston, starring his daughter Anjelica Huston. The Dead was the last film that Huston directed, and it was released posthumously.

"Huston directed the movie, at eighty, from a wheelchair, jumping up to look through the camera, with oxygen tubes trailing from his nose to a portable generator; most of the time, he had to watch the actors on a video monitor outside the set and use a microphone to speak to the crew. Yet he went into dramatic areas that he'd never gone into before - funny, warm family scenes that might be thought completely out of his range. Huston never before blended his actors so intuitively, so musically."[1]

It was adapted from the short story The Dead by James Joyce (from his book Dubliners), and nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Costume Design.

The film takes place in Dublin in 1904 at an Epiphany party held by two elderly sisters. The story focuses our attention on the academic Gabriel Conroy (Donal McCann), and his discovery of his wife Gretta's (Anjelica Huston) memory of a deceased lover.


Film Adaptation

The film adaptation is largely faithful to Joyce's short story, with some alterations made to the dialogue to aid the narrative for cinema audiences.

The most significant change to the story was scriptwriter Tony Huston's inclusion of a new character, a Mr Grace, who recites an eighth-century Middle Irish poem, "Donal Óg" (tr. Lady Gregory: [2][3]. The effect of this is to act as catalyst for the "Distant Music" that provokes the memories Gretta and Gabriel discuss at the end of the film.




Home video

The Dead was initially released on DVD by Lionsgate on November 3, 2009. However, the DVD has nearly ten minutes of the film missing.[4] When word of this leaked out on various websites, Lionsgate had promised to release a complete version to be available on November 23, 2009.


Academy Awards - 1988


Other Awards


  • 1987 Tokyo International Film Festival - Special Achievement Award, John Huston
  • 1988 National Society of Film Critics Awards (USA) - Best Film
  • 1988 Independent Spirit Awards (US Independent Film Awards) - Best Director, John Huston
  • 1988 Independent Spirit Awards (US Independent Film Awards) - Best Supporting Female, Anjelica Huston
  • 1989 Bodil Awards, (Danish Film Critics) - Best Non-European Film
  • 1989 Fotogramas de Plata (Spain) - Best Foreign Film
  • 1989 London Critics Circle Film Awards - Director of the Year, John Huston


  • 1988 Independent Spirit Awards (US Independent Film Awards) - Best Cinematography, Fred Murphy
  • 1988 Independent Spirit Awards (US Independent Film Awards) - Best Screenplay, Tony Huston


  1. ^ Pauline Kael, Hooked p. 402-406 ISBN 0714529036
  2. ^ ”I Think he died for me”, Nick Laird, The Guardian, December 2 2006, [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Becker, Tom (November 2, 2009). "DVD Verdict Review: The Dead". DVDVerdict. Retrieved November 3, 2009.  

External links


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