End of the Line Cafés: “The Iceman Cometh” (1960/1973)

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A comparison of two “Iceman Cometh” films. From my “Playwright at Liberty” blog.

Playwright at Liberty

icemancometh1960 hirshcfeld The 1960 television “The Iceman Cometh” as seen by Al Hirschfeld. Left to right: Hilda Brawner, Myron McCormick, Jason Robards and Julie Bovasso.

If, as I believe, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night is the great American play, his The IcemanCometh vies with very few fellow contenders (The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July, Angels in America) for a most respectable second place.

Fifth of July is an odd contestant, I admit, in that is it far less well known than the others — although Lawrence Kasden obviously knew Wilson’s play well enough to rip it off for his infinitely more superficial and less plangent movie The Big Chill — and is very much a personal choice. Nearly all American playwrights of any standing used to cite Chekhov as among their greatest influences, if not…

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