Film version of Robert Anderson’s 1968 play is distended and lacking clear point of view. Mostly the story of a middle-aged man still strung up by a family umbilical cord, the film veers awkwardly into problems of the aged. However, the performances of father Melvyn Douglas, mother Dorothy Stickney, son Gene Hackman and daughter Estelle Parsons are superb.
Anderson’s basic plot line involves the widower Hackman, still lashed to his parents through the verbal bonds of Douglas’ cold-hearted feelings. Parsons as the daughter was luckier: she was banished for marrying a Jew, and was forced to make a new life.
Trouble is, given all this acting talent, the direction, writing and pacing are dreary.
1970: Nominations: Best Actor (Melvyn Douglas), Supp. Actor (Gene Hackman), Adapted Screenplay