Dead, The (1987): John Huston’s Last Picture, Starring Daughter Anjelica

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John Huston’s “The Dead” is the very last picture in a distinguished four-decade career.  It’s a personal film as it stars daughter Anjelica Huston in the lead and is based on an adapted screenplay by Huston’s son, Tony.

For years, James Joyce’s short story was considered unfilmable, until vet director Huston tackled it.  Set for the most part during a Christmas party, this melancholy melodrama centers on Daniel McCann and his wife (Anjelica Huston).  Listening to an old song, Anjelica recalls of an old lover of hers, causing her and her husband to realize how much they don’t know about each other’s past.

Huston, in his sensitive direction, captures the mood and texture of Joyce’s lyrically touching tale, and his is aided by a superlative cast, consisting of many Irish players, including Dan O’Herlihy and Donal Donnelly.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Screenplay (Adapted): Tony Huston

Costume Design: Dorothy Jeakins

 

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Adapted Screenplay was Bernardo Bertolucci for “The Emperor,” which swept most of the Oscars in 1987, including Best Picture, Director, and Costume Design.