The Irish Film Institute are already dipping into the vault this week to bring Irish art back on the big screen. The legendary director John Huston’s final film The Dead will be shown on Saturday, January 6th only at the IFI.
The Dead adapts the short story by James Joyce, from the great Irish writer’s Dubliners collection. The final film of director John Huston, whose near-50 year career produced all-time classics such as The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen and many more, The Dead was a true family affair, with a screenplay by son Tony Huston and Anjelica Huston starring as Gretta Conroy. Set in Dublin in 1904, the film takes place on the Feast of the Epiphany as Gretta remembers her long-lost love, to the incomprehension of her husband Gabriel (played by Donal McCann).
Huston was so ill at the time of making the film in 1987 that he was unable to travel outside America, leading to all the interiors of the film being shot in a California warehouse, while the film’s second unit shot in Ireland. Legendary film critic Pauline Kael spoke of Huston directing the movie “at eighty, from a wheelchair, jumping up to look through the camera, with oxygen tubes trailing from his nose to a portable generator; most of the time, he had to watch the actors on a video monitor outside the set and use a microphone to speak to the crew.” His efforts scored the film Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Costume Design, and proved to be a poignant and fitting farewell.
Now that we’re out of the season of Christmas movies, we’re not sure if there are many other ‘Feast of the Epiphany movies’ there are besides this one, so for one night only the IFI will be screening the film, which will take place at 6.40pm and tickets are available now from the IFI here.