Review: ‘The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds’

Producer-director Paul Newman has made his finest behind-the-camera film to date in the screen version of Paul Zindel's play. As the slovenly, introverted mother of two young girls, Joanne Woodward brilliantly projects the pitiable character.

Producer-director Paul Newman has made his finest behind-the-camera film to date in the screen version of Paul Zindel’s play. As the slovenly, introverted mother of two young girls, Joanne Woodward brilliantly projects the pitiable character.

Alvin Sargent’s adaptation provides Woodward with a full complement of the despicable dimensions which make the focal character both a monster and an object of genuine pity.

Roberta Wallach is excellent as the elder daughter, Ruth, an epilepsy-prone, hardening creature almost destined to become her mother. As the younger girl, whose school experiments give the play its title, Nell Potts is equally impressive, with a sensitive screen presence most rare in young actresses.

Newman has gotten it all together here as a director, letting the story and the players unfold with simplicity, restraint and discernment.

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Paul Newman; Producer Paul Newman; Screenplay Alvin Sargent; Camera Adam Holender; Editor Evan Lottman; Music Maurice Jarre; Art Director Gene Callahan

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1972. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Joanne Woodward Nell Potts Roberta Wallach Judith Lowry Richard Venture Estelle Omens
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