A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

Overview

The plight of an English couple struggling to raise a disabled child is given a darkly humorous treatment in this English comedy. Based on the successful stage play by Peter Nichols, the film centers on the parents of Jo, nicknamed "Joe Egg," a mentally challenged invalid subject to violent seizures. The couple played by Alan Bates and Janet Suzman attempts to maintain a stoic and occasionally cheerful facade in the face of their daughter's condition, but they find themselves unable to cope with the strain. Faced...
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Overview

The plight of an English couple struggling to raise a disabled child is given a darkly humorous treatment in this English comedy. Based on the successful stage play by Peter Nichols, the film centers on the parents of Jo, nicknamed "Joe Egg," a mentally challenged invalid subject to violent seizures. The couple played by Alan Bates and Janet Suzman attempts to maintain a stoic and occasionally cheerful facade in the face of their daughter's condition, but they find themselves unable to cope with the strain. Faced with the imminent collapse of their marriage, they eventually agree that euthanasia may be the answer to their troubles. Some viewers may consider the subject matter inappropriate for comedy, but the film mines its uneasy laughter not from the child's plight but from the eccentricities of the parents' reactions.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A difficult yet rewarding film, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg suffers somewhat from an uncertainty as to how to translate the stage play to film. This is understandable, as a great deal of the impact of the original play was dependent upon unnatural conventions -- playing portions of the play as skits, creating song-and-dance routines -- that are hard to pull off on film. Without those conventions to add variety, Joe Egg tends to play a little flat and gets too little help from Peter Medak's earnest direction. And there's no doubt that the subject matter -- a couple being torn apart by the incurable disease that has affected their child since birth -- will make Joe Egg rough going for some. That said, this very subject matter also makes Joe Egg intensely affecting and provides some absolutely unforgettable moments, chief among them Janet Suzman's beautiful and devastating monologue about the day she thought her daughter had knocked down some blocks on purpose. Suzman and Albert Finney are in top form, delivering performances that are both bleakly funny and wrenchingly moving. Joan Hickson also scores as the grandmother who prefers to play stupid, and there's fine support from Peter Bowles and Sheila Gish. A Day in the Death of Joe Egg is imperfect, and sometimes its central romance skirts with melodrama, but it's a film that the adventurous should seek out.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/16/2010
  • UPC: 043396359802
  • Original Release: 1971
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures Home
  • Language: English
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 78,384

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alan Bates Bri
Janet Suzman Sheila
Peter Bowles Freddie
Sheila Gish Pam
Joan Hickson Grace
Murray Melvin Doctor
Fanny Carby Nun
Constance Chapman Moonrocket Lady
Elizabeth Robillard Jo
Elizabeth Tyrell Midwife
Technical Credits
Peter Medak Director
David Bracknell Asst. Director
Dimitry Collins Set Decoration/Design
David Deutsch Producer
Marcus Dods Score Composer
Ken Hodges Cinematographer
Ray Lovejoy Editor
Peter Nichols Screenwriter
Ted Tester Art Director
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