The Iceman Cometh


Action / Drama

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Jeff Bridges Photo
Jeff Bridges as Don Parritt
Lee Marvin Photo
Lee Marvin as Hickey
Fredric March Photo
Fredric March as Harry Hope
Evans Evans Photo
Evans Evans as Cora
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
2.14 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
3 hr 58 min
P/S ...
3.98 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
3 hr 58 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird9 / 10

Powerful suffering

John Frankenheimer was a great director, 'Birdman of Alcatraz', 'Seven Days in May' and 'The Train' are all fabulous films and 'The Manchurian Candidate' is a masterpiece. Had no doubt that he would be well suited for this adaptation of 'The Iceman Cometh'. Which has all the attributes that 'A Long Day's Journey into Night', also written by one of the all time great American playwrights Eugene O'Neill, has and has what makes that play so powerful. The cast is a talented one too, with Fredric March and Robert Ryan in their last roles particularly grabbing the attention.

Of the thirteen films making up the interesting and ambitious but uneven American Film Theatre series from the early 70s, 1973's 'The Iceman Cometh' is easily one of the best and to me one of the few "great" ones of the series. Recently (well a couple of months ago) saw the 1962 film version of 'A Long Day's Journey into Night', which bowled me over, 'The Iceman Cometh' while not quite as great is very nearly on that film's level in my view. The cast are on top form and well served by O'Neill's masterful character writing and development, it's intelligently directed and is dramatically powerful. It is very faithful to the play, like almost all the adaptations in the American Film Theatre series are, without being overly so.

If you aren't too fond of a lot of talk, a lack of "likeable" characters, deliberate pacing and long lengths 'The Iceman Cometh' (both play and film) may not be your thing. If you don't mind slow pacing, love psychologically fascinating and masterfully developed characters and complex emotions, this will be right up your street. It certainly was mine, and being already familiar with the play and 'A Long Day's Journey into Night' helped a lot.

Did find the opening scene a little too darkly lit perhaps and on the sluggish side.

'The Iceman Cometh' however is otherwise very handsomely and atmospherically shot film, like all Frankenheimer's films. The photography and editing may not be as inventive as those for 'The Train' for instance, but this is not the kind of film, but the film doesn't feel like a filmed play and one of the few films in the series to not feel like that. Frankenheimer directs splendidly, pace-wise it's fluent, it captures the mood beautifully, it's subtle and it is very true in spirit to the play without being over-conventional.

Furthermore, the dialogue is still emotionally and psychologically powerful. There is a lot of talk, but it is talk that all feels crucial to the characters and their situations without feeling rambling or too heavy in exposition. The story is deliberately paced but atmosphere-wise it blisters with intensity, while also being in spots very moving. The ending has always stayed with me in the play and it lingered long in my mind after the film was over. 'The Iceman Cometh' is long in length, but this is an example of a play to film adaptation where a long length was necessary and where pretty much everything has to be intact. It gripped me and commanded the attention throughout.

All the characters are of the kind that are very flawed but fascinating in their complexity. O'Neill was a master of character writing and character development, and this film clearly understood that and embraced it. The acting is nothing short of excellent. The standouts being the devastatingly anguished turn of March and a similarly poignant and intense one from Ryan (the latter giving one of my favourite performances of his). Actually thought that an atypically cast Lee Marvin, whose performance had a more controversial critical response, did admirably in his difficult role and attacked it with gusto. While his delivery of his massive scene is not the earth-shattering of deliveries of that scene he does a noble and wonderful stab at it. Although Jason Robards was indeed a supreme interpreter of O'Neill one cannot have him in every film version of his plays. Young Jeff Bridges and Bradford Dillman are also impressive.

Overall, great and one of the best of the series. 9/10.

Reviewed by bkoganbing10 / 10

The Denizens of Harry Hope's Waterfront Dive

The Iceman Cometh is one great film to go out on for not one, but two of the best players ever. This turned out to be the last performances for both Fredric March and Robert Ryan. In the case of Ryan he knew he was terminal and his performance has real poignancy.

Of course you can't beat the material that was given to them and the rest of the cast. It's been argued that The Iceman Cometh is the greatest work from the pen of America's greatest playwright Eugene O'Neill and I'm not going to argue the point.

Some would give the honor of O'Neill's greatest play to Long Day's Journey Into Night. That particular play was Eugene O'Neill's remembrance of his childhood and family. The Iceman Cometh is also about a family of sorts, the community that's been established around Harry Hope's waterfront bar and SRO flophouse. It's owner Harry Hope played by Fredric March, is a former Tammany politician who's not set foot outside his establishment because he's in mourning over his late wife Bessie.

The whole usual crowd of boarder/drinkers is awaiting the arrival of one of the regulars who apparently likes to go slumming there. It's Hickey, a gladhanding traveling salesman Lee Marvin who spends like a Diamond Jim Brady and is generally the life of the party. But it's a new and somber Hickey that comes to bar that day.

A stranger arrives that day also, Jeff Bridges a young anarchist is on the run he says from the Pacific Coast where his mother among others has been picked up. He's looking for an older leader of the movement Larry Slade who is played by Robert Ryan. Ryan is a beaten and tired man and of all the people in the bar he's the one with the most realistic assessment. It's the last stop for this crowd before the Grim Reaper.

But the somber Marvin, still full of salesman's guile gets them all to reassess themselves and their 'pipe dreams' even for a little while. He also reveals a terrible secret about himself and Jeff Bridges has even bigger cross to bear and Bridges can't bear it.

I was blown away by the performances of everyone in the cast. Marvin came in for some criticism at the time, attempting to serious a part and one that Jason Robards, Jr. was given acclaim for as his career role. But there was nothing wrong in Lee Marvin's performance that I could find. Young Jeff Bridges more than held his own with the veteran cast. My favorite among the supporting parts is Bradford Dillman who plays a lawyer who graduated from Harvard Law and for whatever reason, broke down and is now here.

One member of the cast in this production was in the original Broadway cast when The Iceman Cometh premiered on Broadway in 1946. That was Tom Pedi who played the bartender Rocky Pioggi who also doubled as a pimp for some prostitutes who hang out there. Next to Ryan, the women who we don't learn anything about really, seem to have the most realistic ideas about the patrons there. Pedi's performance in a part he grew to own is pretty special also.

Bridges is the outsider, he had a cause, a revolutionary cause and O'Neill in his youth hung around with that crowd as we learned in Warren Beatty's Reds. We also learned that while O'Neill liked the people he was less than optimistic about the beliefs they had. If Bridges is a failed John Reed, O'Neill in Ryan's character of Larry Slade is looking back over the years when he drank in such places as Harry Hope's. The rest of the cast is no doubt modeled after people he knew back in the day.

In his own way, O'Neill loved these people a whole lot more than he did his own family. And it's to them and for them he wrote The Iceman Cometh. And it's for us to see a small part of New York in 1912, some folks who might have passed unnoticed by time, but for the fact that a literary genius passed among them.

Reviewed by deannolan10 / 10


Can I tell you that I have waited 30 years to see this movie? When I was in my late teens, I received a brochure in the mail advertising the American Film Theater series. One of the films in the series that made my eyes pop was the promise to show Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh". I was a big fan of O'Neill's work, but felt cheated by AFT's disastrous marketing concept of showing it's films to season subscribers only, and then only giving them two days to see the film. I was forced to take a pass, but mourned my loss ever since.

This play is rarely performed. At four hours, it would task most theater companies, and Hickey's 25 minute soliloquy in the last act requires only the best actors to pull off. I was fortunate to have seen this play, once in my life, performed on the stage. This was Chicago's Goodman Theater production starring Brian Dennehy as Hickey in 1990. I felt fortunate, but came away from that production dissatisfied. Dennehy was a "good" Hickey, but not a great one, and the rest of the cast left me a little shallow.

How glad I was then to discover that this film had been re-released. By pure chance, I saw a notice in the paper that this film would be showing at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. I couldn't let this opportunity pass by a second time. I attended the screening and was absolutely stunned. It exceeded my expectations.

First of all, the cast was stellar. Robert Ryan played his last film role here, and it was perfect. I don't say something like that very often. I cannot imagine a better Larry.

Fredric March played his last role here too, as Harry Hope. Also an excellent performance.

The question everyone would be asking about is Hickey, played by Lee Marvin. Was he up to the role? To my surprise, Marvin couldn't have been a better choice.

Hickey was a salesman, and a rare one at that. He was the type of salesman that could knock on your door and convince you that what he had to sell was what you needed. A salesman like that had to exude a sense of complete self confidence. They would have to be totally sure of themselves and show it. Lee Marvin did that perfectly.

The tragedy of Hickey was that he was his own best customer. He was a tortured soul until he came across a solution that made him feel that he could live with himself again, thus creating his own pipedream. His mistake was to think he found a solution that would save humanity.

Unfortunately, in Harry Hope's dive, pipe-dreams and illusions were the only thing the patrons had to live for. Tampering with that created disaster.

Lee Marvin convinced me that he was Hickey, and in a play like this, that is quite an accomplishment.

By the way, I discovered that this film is now available on VHF and DVD. I am getting a copy.

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