Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias

4.6 30
Director: Herbert Ross

Cast: Herbert Ross, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine

     
 

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The title refers to those seemingly frail Southern belles who survive any and all deprivations through whims of iron. Robert Harling's original stage play was set exclusively in a Louisiana beauty parlor where an all-female cast of characters laughed, cried and compared menfolk. The film expands the playing field by including scenes at picnics, hospitals and the like,… See more details below

Overview

The title refers to those seemingly frail Southern belles who survive any and all deprivations through whims of iron. Robert Harling's original stage play was set exclusively in a Louisiana beauty parlor where an all-female cast of characters laughed, cried and compared menfolk. The film expands the playing field by including scenes at picnics, hospitals and the like, and by visually depicting the males who never appeared in the stage version. Dolly Parton plays the goodnatured beauty-shop owner, while Shirley MacLaine is the cantankerous town eccentric, decked out in grungy overalls and speaking fluent Trash. Well-to-do Sally Field bravely endures several assaults to her sensibilities, not the least of which is the illness (and subsequent death) of daughter Julia Roberts. The performances are first-rate, with the possible exception of Daryl Hannah's overemphatic portrayal of a gawky hairdresser. The film stumbles a bit in its depiction of the male characters as fools and deadheads, and in the final overlong hospital scenes involving the comatose Roberts, which play like a road company version of Terms of Endearment. Otherwise, Steel Magnolias is a prime example of ensemble filmmaking, lovingly coordinated by director Herbert Ross. (Sidebar: Herbert Ross was reportedly rather rough on Julia Roberts, deriding her lack of experience. The rest of the female cast rallied around Roberts and told the director to lay off or pay the price).

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A self-styled "woman's picture" that generates laughter and tears with equal facility, Steel Magnolias is blessed with an extraordinary ensemble of female actors, each of them cast to perfection. Much of the action revolves around a small Southern town's beauty shop, managed by lusty, straight-talkin' Dolly Parton. Her regular customers and close friends include devoted mother Sally Field, who's worried that her diabetic daughter (Julia Roberts in her first major screen role) isn't up to raising her newborn child; Shirley MacLaine, the town's tart-tongued curmudgeon; Olympia Dukakis, a no-nonsense matron who's Shirley's frequent sparring partner; and Daryl Hannah, Dolly's ditzy assistant. These characters are sharply drawn by Robert Harling, who adapts his own play to the screen and provides the women with crisp, natural dialogue. Director Herbert Ross (The Goodbye Girl) unites his talented performers, making them a cohesive group and reinforcing the notion that when women with common goals and yearnings stick together, there's nothing they can't accomplish or endure.
All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
While it never truly escapes its theatrical origins, Robert Harling's tale of a gaggle of loquacious Southern belles manages to succeed as a straightforward entertainment. More sentimental and heavy-handed than it needs to be, the movie nevertheless has a major selling point: it creates full-bodied characters for a talented troupe of A-list actresses, many of whom never get an opportunity to play roles that are as much fun. The film expands on the original six-character outline to include the men in these women's lives, but not to much success, as the actresses dominate the film throughout. Magnolias is well cast right down the line (only Sally Field takes her part too far over the top), with a luminous early role for Julia Roberts in the most affecting performance. Oddly enough, the film is often compared to Terms of Endearment, the film to which Harling would write and direct the sequel The Evening Star, an effort that failed to capitalize on either of these films' strengths or their impressive box office.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/25/2000
UPC:
0043396055933
Original Release:
1989
Rating:
PG
Source:
Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sally Field M'Lynn Eatenton
Dolly Parton Truvy Jones
Shirley MacLaine Ouiser Boudreaux
Daryl Hannah Annelle Dupuy Desoto
Olympia Dukakis Clairee Belcher
Julia Roberts Shelby Eatenton Latcherie
Tom Skerritt Drum Eatenton
Sam Shepard Spud Jones
Dylan McDermott Jackson Latcherie
Kevin J. O'Connor Sammy Desoto
Bill McCutcheon Owen Jenkins
Teresa Beaudoin Receptionist
Oscar J. Bienvenu Doctor
Carole Cook Actor
Gale J. Odom Church Singer
Aja Sansone Monique
Betsy Widhalm Church Organist
James Shapkoff Delivery Man
Ann Wedgeworth Aunt Fern
Jonathan Ward Jonathan Eatenton
Bibi Besch Belle Marmillion
Janine Turner Nancy Beth Marmillion
James Wlcek Marshall Marmillion
Ronald Young Drew Marmillion
Nancy Parsons Janice Van Meter
Robert Ginnaven Mayor Van Meter
Tom Hodges Louie Jones
Rick Hurst Bark Boone
Robert Harling Minister
C. Houser Jack Jr. (1 year old)
Daniel Camp Jack Jr. (3 years old)
Norman Fletcher Mr. Latcherie, Sr.
Lori Tate Mrs. Latcherie, Sr.
Robert Adams Dr. Judd
Rodney Alan Fulton Bobby Ray Ross
Spencer Henderson Dancing Couple
Sandra Asbury-Johnson Dancing Couple
Gladys Mallard Nurse
Betty J. Dove Nurse
Travis Harrison Delivery Boy
Walker May Newspaper Boy
Robert R. Morgan Cook
Roger D. McCann Cook's Helper
Debbie McCann Cook's Helper
Knowl Johnson Tommy Eatenton
Carol Sutton Nurse Pam
Trent Dawson Church Singer

Technical Credits
Herbert Ross Director
John A. Alonzo Cinematographer
Hub Braden Art Director
Gene Callahan Production Designer
Hallie D'Amore Makeup
Georges Delerue Score Composer
Robert Harling Screenwriter
Kevin Harris Special Effects
Spencer Henderson Choreography
Paul Hirsch Editor
Garry Lewis Set Decoration/Design
Leigh Mitchell Makeup
Michael Okowita Art Director
Edward Pisoni Production Designer
Lee Poll Set Decoration/Design
Christina Smith Makeup
Ray Stark Producer
Andrew Stone Associate Producer
Julie Weiss Costumes/Costume Designer
Victoria White Executive Producer
Steven Wolff Set Decoration/Design

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