The Shadow Box (TV)(Director) (1980)

Starring: Melinda Dillon, JW, Sylvia Sydney, Valerie Harper, John Considine, Christopher Plummer, Ben Masters

Directed by:Paul Newman

Summary: The story of cottages 9, 10, and 11 at an medical clinic for the terminally ill. It shows the lives 3 patients and how their families are affected by their impending deaths. In Cottage #9, Agnes (Melinda Dillon)hides from her mother, Felicity (Sylvia Sidney), that her sister Claire has been killed several years earlier, thinking that the news would cause her to lose hope and die. In Cottage 10, Joe and Maggie (Valerie Harper) and their teenage son have come 3,000 from New Jersey to the clinic. Maggie is in complete denial of Joe's condition and refuses to accept that he is dying. By far the most interesting cottage is #11, where Brian (Christopher Plummer) and Mark, his "friend" (in the Greek sense) reside. Brian's ex-wife Beverly (Joanne Woodward) has entered their lives like the tornado she is, bringing the memory of their life together. Mark is hostile toward Beverly at first, but she finally breaks down his resolve and he is able to let out his true feelings for Brian.

Quote:Beverly: "I had a little accident with the vodka on the way over, there's a dent in it."

The Newman Factor & Rating: This TV movie aired on ABC on December 28th, 1980 and the quality of film was very poor. It was based on a play of the same name, and unfortunately, it suffers because of it. As a play it is fairly interesting, however it does not translate seamlessly to the screen. After about a half hour it becomes less distracting, but the opening scenes would probably turn off anyone who's not used to watching stage productions. I definitely enjoyed the Brian/Beverly/Mark story the best, but Melinda Dillon's performance was also remarkable. Paul's camera directing was nothing too remarkable, there were some strange shots I wondered about, but the direction of the actors was above average. Film: 7.

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