By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –
Eugene O’Neill is widely considered to be the greatest American playwright. His achievements include four Pulitzer Prizes and the Nobel Peace Prize. It is no surprise, then, that filmmakers would want to adapt his plays for the silver screen. Even though O’Neill died in 1953, Hollywood still transformed his stage productions into memorable motion pictures. One of the more famous film versions of his work was released in 1962 when Long Days’ Journey Into Night became an instant classic.
This film really is a classic because it honors the legacy of O’Neill’s dramatic work while also showcasing powerful performances from its cast. Katharine Hepburn obviously excels as Mary Tyrone, the matriarch of a delusional and dysfunctional family. Hepburn herself received both a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for bringing the famous character to life on screen. The rest of the cast does well as they exhibited the hardships that the Tyrone family has to endure on one single day in August 1912. The film itself might be a bit depressing, but that is because O’Neill wanted to explore the theme of illusion versus reality while also presenting the fact that life itself is sometimes bleak. It is actually amazing how the entire cast can make an iconic stage production into an iconic film!
Even though it is almost three hours long, this film has a lengthy running time simply because it captures the complexities of the original stage play. O’Neill himself might not have been alive when this Long Day’s Journey Into Night was released, but it really does honor his legacy. In fact, the cast spent three weeks rehearsing before filming began, and then the filmmakers shot the entire film in sequence. The meticulous attention to detail makes viewers feel as if they really are watching the stage play without seeing a live production of it. This film might have had limited support from the Academy and Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but it still reveals how one single day really can be a long journey into night (pun intended).
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time there is mentioning of fog and foghorns
Take a Drink: when the characters consume alcohol or morphine (but not literally, of course)
Slowly Sip Your Favorite Drink: as the Tyrone family slowly descends into madness