Gowan McGland is a half-Irish/half-Welsh Scottish poet with some renown. He is also a total s*** – a boozer, a womanizer (his conquests more frequently married than not), lazy, and a leech, with a deteriorating body and bad teeth, losing which he equates with death. He also has his charms, which, in combination with his renown, leads to him usually being able to get what he wants.
His wife, Edith McGland, also a writer, is well aware of who he is, their marriage which is in name only, although they are still good friends. It is because of her profession and her connection that she has been commissioned to write his biography. Because he is lazy, he has not written anything in five years. He is on a speaking tour to earn what little money he has, currently on an extended stop in Woodsmoke, Connecticut. His reputation in almost every sense precedes him in Woodsmoke – including his womanizing where probably only the husbands of his conquests are unaware of what’s going on.
Reuben, Reuben is a 1983 comedy-drama film directed by Robert Ellis Miller and starring Tom Conti, Kelly McGillis (in her film debut), Roberts Blossom, Cynthia Harris, and Joel Fabiani. The film was adapted by Julius J. Epstein from the play Spofford by Herman Shumlin, which in turn was adapted from the novel Reuben, Reuben by Peter De Vries.
The main character in DeVries’s novel was based largely on the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who was a compulsive womanizer and lifelong alcoholic, finally succumbing to the effects of alcohol poisoning in November 1953, while on a speaking tour in America.
Reuben, Reuben (1983)
Directed by: Robert Ellis Miller
Starring: Tom Conti, Kelly McGillis, Roberts Blossom, Joel Fabiani, Cynthia Harris, Lois Smith, E. Katherine Kerr, Jack Davidson
Screenplay by: Julius J. Epstein
Production Design by: Peter S. Larkin
Cinematography by: Peter Stein
Film Editing by: Skip Lusk
Costume Design by: John Boxer
Set Decoration by: Jeff Ginn
Music by: Billy Goldenberg
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 19, 1983