Monday, May 27, 2019


On Saturday evening, I watched John Huston's film "The Dead", the last movie he directed. The film is based on James Joyce's short story of the same title in his collection of stories, "Dubliners". Then, on Sunday morning, I watched the movie again because it is wonderful with excellent performances by the actors in the film.

"The Dead" is a family affair with daughter Angelica in a starring role as Gretta, a guest at a dinner party in Dublin, and son Tony Huston as the adapter of the story into the script for the movie. Many of the spoken lines in the film are taken verbatim from the dialogue of the characters in Joyce's story. In my opinion, the story is a masterpiece, and John Huston honors the brilliance of the story in his film adaptation.

Huston was ill with heart trouble and on oxygen during the filming which was completed in April 1987. He died in August of the same year before the film was released.

After I watched the movie twice, I wanted to read the story again. Ah, regrets! I once owned a copy of "Dubliners", but I gave it away. I found the story online, but now I want to reread all the stories in the collection.

Gabriel (Donal McCann), Gretta's husband in the film, is much struck when his wife stops on the stairway as they are leaving to listen raptly to a song, "The Lass of Aughrim", sung by another guest, tenor (Colm J. Meaney).

I searched for the song on YouTube and found this version by Fran O'Rourke, accompanied by John Feeley on James Joyce's restored guitar!


  1. Sounds like a great movie. I'm going to see if I can stream it on Netflix or Amazon. I haven't watched a John Huston film in years.

    1. I don't think you will be disappointed, Robin.

  2. Gee, that movie was made 32 years ago, how time flies.

    You can download a pdf of Dubliners from Project Gutenberg for free. I used to puzzle how the beginning of it The Sisters was all about a death and how the last one was about the long dead and wondered if Joyce meant anything by that,

    1. The only entire book I have ever downloaded was "Night" by Elie Weisel. My printer is old, but it still works. In my tradition of using things until they break or wear out, downloading the book would be a time-consuming business. Since reading long pieces online is difficult for me, I don't own a Kindle, so I may download "Dubliners" yet.

      I tried several times to read "Ulysses", but I never finished. My roommate in graduate school and I even tried reading the novel aloud to each other, but we gave up. I think the only way I would ever have read the entire book is if it had been an assignment.

      As far as "The Sisters", I don't remember the story well enough to comment, but you've made me curious, and I want to read it again.

      I'm in process of reading Volume 2 of the Mueller report online, but I take it 25 or so pages at a time, and I'm only in the 60s now.

  3. I Just found your intriguing blog while searching for a photo of the 'tit Rex parade. Funny how full many a flower is there amongst the electrons of this digital Elysian Fields... Thanks for this recommendation of what looks to be an engrossing film.


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