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Boy in the Plastic Bubble
     

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

Director: Randal Kleiser

Cast: John Travolta, Diana Hyland, Robert Reed

 

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Welcome Back Kotter star John Travolta headlines the made-for-TV Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Douglas Day Stewart's fact-based teleplay casts Travolta as Tod Lubitsch, a teenager who was born without disease immunities. Tod is forced to live out his life in incubator conditions; whenever he vetnures into the outdoors, he must be encased in a huge plastic

Overview

Welcome Back Kotter star John Travolta headlines the made-for-TV Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Douglas Day Stewart's fact-based teleplay casts Travolta as Tod Lubitsch, a teenager who was born without disease immunities. Tod is forced to live out his life in incubator conditions; whenever he vetnures into the outdoors, he must be encased in a huge plastic bubble. When he falls in love with Gina Biggs (Glynnis O'Connor), Tod must decide between staying safe and following his heart, which would mean facing near-certain death. Diana Hyland won an Emmy for her portrayal of Travolta's mother. Incidentally, Hyland and Travolta became real-life lovers, a relationship that was tragically terminated when the actress died of cancer. Boy in the Plastic Bubble was first telecast November 12, 1976.

Editorial Reviews

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The Boy in the Plastic Bubble is often remembered as the gloriously dated disease-of-the-week movie from the 1970s -- the first feature-length vehicle for John Travolta, made for the medium of television, where he was the breakout star of Welcome Back Kotter. But it's also the only produced feature-length teleplay by noted film critic Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal. Well, neither needs to be embarrassed, as The Boy in the Plastic Bubble contains a surprising amount of nuance. Travolta doesn't play Tod Lubitsch as a saint, but perhaps more importantly, nor does Morgenstern (with Douglas Day Stewart) write him that way. Travolta combines with Glynnis O'Connor to make a charmingly gawky pair of believable teenagers, who don't always do or say the right things. What's great about O'Connor's performance is that she's one of the popular girls, but doesn't use that as an excuse to make Gina an aloof caricature -- she's just a normal girl with equal parts mischief and goodness. Travolta's work is good as well, but it's difficult to determine how much like a real life-long shut-in he is. It's tempting to hope a person in his position would remain generally upbeat, but since the disease is so rare, it's hard to say for sure. Not only does the film work as a soulful consideration of the sacrifices of living without immunities, but on a purely logistical level, it's also a how-to manual, satisfying our curiosity about the day-to-day routines of a seemingly impossible life. If any part of The Boy in the Plastic Bubble gives pause, it's the ending. Generously, it's lyrical; more honestly, it's probably just cheesy. But chalking that up to the era as well makes it easier to swallow, and truly, this film about quarantined solitude is a breath of fresh air.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/04/2012
UPC:
0043396415744
Original Release:
1976
Source:
Sony Pictures Home
Sales rank:
13,210

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Travolta Tod Lubitch
Diana Hyland Mickey Lubitch
Robert Reed Johnny Lubitch
Ralph Bellamy Dr. Ernest Gunther
Glynnis O'Connor Gina Biggs
Karen Morrow Martha BIggs
Howard Platt Pete Biggs
John Friedrich Roy Slater
Kelly Ward Tom Shuster
John Megna Smith
Vernée Watson Gwen
Darrell Zwerling Mr. Brister
P.J. Soles Deborah
Victor Brandt TV Installer
Hilda Haynes Nurse
Seth Wagerman Tod at 3 years old
Anne Ramsey Rachel
Jack McLaughlin-Gray Actor
Buzz Aldrin Actor

Technical Credits
Randal Kleiser Director
Arch R. Dalzell Cinematographer
Cindy Dunne Producer
Leonard J. Goldberg Executive Producer
Shelley Hull Producer
John McSweeney Editor
Joe Morgenstern Original Story,Screenwriter
Mark Snow Score Composer
Aaron Spelling Executive Producer
Douglas Day Stewart Original Story,Screenwriter,Teleplay
Joel Thurm Producer
Paul Williams Score Composer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Boy in the Plastic Bubble
1. Chapter 1 [9:47]
2. Chapter 2 [11:04]
3. Chapter 3 [9:04]
4. Chapter 4 [9:46]
5. Chapter 5 [11:18]
6. Chapter 6 [7:59]
7. Chapter 7 [9:39]
8. Chapter 8 [1:18]
9. Chapter 9 [10:17]
10. Chapter 10 [10:14]
11. Chapter 11 [6:29]

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