The Dead (1987)

The Dead (1987)

Taglines: A vast, merry, and uncommon tale of love.

John Huston’s last film is a labor of love at several levels: an adaptation of perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English-language literature by one of Huston’s favorite authors, James Joyce; a love letter to the land of his ancestors and the country where his children grew up; and the chance to work with his screenwriter son Tony and his actress daughter Anjelica.

The film is delicate and unhurried, detailing an early January dinner at the house of two spinster musician sisters and their niece in turn-of-the-century Ireland, attended by friends and family. Among the visiting attendees are the sisters’ nephew Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta. The evening’s reminiscences bring up melancholy memories for Gretta concerning her first, long-lost love when she was a girl in rural Galway. Her recounting of this tragic love to Gabriel brings him to an epiphany: he learns the difference between mere existence and living.

The Dead is a 1987 feature film directed by John Huston, starring his daughter Anjelica Huston. The Dead was the last film that Huston directed, and it was released posthumously. It was adapted from the short story “The Dead” by James Joyce, which was included in his short works collection Dubliners

The film takes place in Dublin in 1904 at an Epiphany party held by three sisters. The story focuses attention on the academic Gabriel Conroy (Donal McCann) and his discovery of his wife Gretta’s (Anjelica Huston) memory of a deceased lover. The Dead was nominated for two Academy Awards—for Best Adapted Screenplay and for Costume Design.

The Dead Movie Poster (1987)

The Dead (1987)

Directed by: John Huston
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Donal McCann, Helena Carroll, Cathleen Delany, Rachael Dowling, Kate O’Toole, Bairbre Dowling, Ingrid Craigie
Screenplay by: Tony Huston
Production Design by: Stephen B. Grimes, J. Dennis Washington
Cinematography by: Fred Murphy
Film Editing by: Roberto Silvi
Costume Design by: Dorothy Jeakins
Set Decoration by: Josie MacAvin
Music by: Alex North
Distributed by: Vestron Pictures
Release Date: December 18, 1987