Directed by: David Lowell Rich
|Helen Hayes||Emma Long|
|Fred Astaire||Ted Long|
|Efrem Zimbalist Jr.||Mike Long|
|Pat Crowley||Carol Long|
|Patty Duke Astin||Wendy|
|Brad Rearden||Scott Long|
Produced by: Ross Hunter, Jacque Mapes, Marvin Miller
Written by: Gerald Di Pego
Cinematography by: Joseph F. Biroc
Production Company: Paramount Television
Premiere: 9 April 1978, NBC
Synopsis: Affecting drama about an elderly couple who become dependent on their grown children after the husband has a stroke. Intelligent rumination on quality vs. quantity of life. Astaire won an Emmy Award and Hayes, Astin, and Zimbalist all received nominations.
A highly affecting movie that will make you look at your parents, and at life, in a new light. After all, what is more important- how long you live, or what you do with your life? It's a question with heavy significance, and it is dealt with very well here. Di Pego's script is intelligent and doesn't try to beat you over the head with his point, but instead makes the point well and gives his actors plenty of room to express themselves.
The actors themselves stand out. The acting is terrific, with Fred and Helen Hayes both turning in superb performances. Their acting is so frighteningly real that it will make your heart stop to see the fear in their eyes as their way of life and their time together is suddenly and abruptly threatened. The supporting cast all acquit themselves well, with a standout performance by Astin as Wendy. What could have been a distracting subplot is given life by her performance.
The direction is good, and and the movie (apart from one or two points) is well paced, sharp and never preachy or overly sentimental. It wraps up nicely in just under 100 minutes, moving efficiently from scene to scene and not lingering in an attempt to milk sentiment or pathos.
It's a terrific movie, and definitely one worth watching. Inevitably, all of our bodies will grow old. This movie gives us, especially the young and invincible among us, a window into why our youth and freedom is so valuable and into what makes life worth living.
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