Review: ‘A Day in the Death of Joe Egg’

A splendid adaptation by Peter Nichols from his play, simpatico direction by Peter Medak and stellar playing combine to make A Day in the Death of Joe Egg a superior black comedy-drama about a young couple trying to cope with a spastic child.

A splendid adaptation by Peter Nichols from his play, simpatico direction by Peter Medak and stellar playing combine to make A Day in the Death of Joe Egg a superior black comedy-drama about a young couple trying to cope with a spastic child.

Lachrymal but unsentimentalized, the gut moral issue is euthanasia. The almost surreal narrative unfolds yo-yo style – from bitter or hilarious (or both) humor to emotional wrench and back again, repeatedly. Medak achieves this with seemingly unerring timing and balance.

Alan Bates and Janet Suzman as the couple who play games to survive their nightmare are firstrate in their sardonic despair. Joe Egg is less about their defective moppet than the struggle of their own connubial existence, the often foiled appetite for carnal contact, and their very sanity.

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

UK

Production

Domino. Director Peter Medak; Producer David Deutsch; Screenplay Peter Nichols; Camera Ken Hodges; Editor Ray Lovejoy; Music Marcus Dods (dir.); Art Director Ted Tester

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Alan Bates Janet Suzman Peter Bowles Sheila Gish Joan Hickson Murray Melvin
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