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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long way to go, 13 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man [1977] [DVD] (DVD)
230 - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Joseph Strick, 1977, 92')

This is my fourth review of an Irish and/or Joycean film, after Malcolm Lowry's Under the volcano (John Huston, 1984, 112'), Joyce's The Dead (John Huston, 1987, 83')‬‬‬ and Ulysses (Joseph Strick, 1967, 132'). It portrays the growth of consciousness of Stephen Dedalus (a semi-autobiographical character created by James Joyce) as a boy and later as a university student in late nineteenth century Dublin. It is striking that two Americans - John Huston and Joseph Strick - should be the films' authors, and neither Irish nor English nationals.

Cast: Bosco Hogan - Stephen Dedalus, T P McKenna - Simon Dedalus, John Gielgud - The Preacher, Rosaleen Linehan - Mary (May) Dedalus, Maureen Potter - Mrs Dante Riordan, Niall Buggy - Davin, Bryan Murray - Lynch, Desmond Cave - Cranly, Leslie Lalor - Milly. Desmond Perry - John Casey, Susan Fitzgerald - Emma Daniels, Luke Johnston - Stephen Dedalus, age ten, Danny Figgis - Wells, Cecil Sheehan - Uncle Charles, Edward Golden - Father Conmee, Bill Foley - Confessor, David Kelly - Dean of Studies, Edward Byrne - Teacher, Emmet Bergin - Father Dolan, Aiden Grennell - Father Arnall, Danny Cummins - Drinker, Chris Curran - Auctioneer, Brendan Cauldwell - Father Michael.

<<<Joseph Strick, who died on 2 June 2010 aged 86, was a maverick Oscar-winning American film director and screenwriter whose documentary on hecklers galvanised Britain's 1966 general election campaign. Strick went on to direct and produce James Joyce's supposedly unfilmable Ulysses; with Fred Haines, he was Oscar-nominated for the screenplay. In 1971 he won an Academy Award for the documentary Interviews with My Lai Veterans. He had already won a Bafta for The Savage Eye (1960), a low-budget part-documentary film shot in gritty Los Angeles locations about a young divorced woman attempting to start a new life. He went on to direct the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964, and at the National Theatre in 2003.

Joseph Strick was born on July 6 1923 at Braddock, Pennsylvania. He left UCLA after Pearl Harbor to join the US Army, learning the filmmaker's craft as a cameraman with the Army Air Force. He used an Army surplus camera to shoot Muscle Beach (1948), a documentary about southern California bodybuilders. Having made several movies, he left the business in the mid-1950s "to make some money so that I could make my own movies". He helped launch several science and technology companies, selling them at a profit once they were up and running.

Having returned to movie-making with The Savage Eye, in 1963 he directed a screen adaptation of Jean Genet's play The Balcony before tackling Ulysses. Regarded by many as unreadable, the book had nevertheless been banned in America from 1921 to 1933, and no film maker had been prepared to take it on. Strick was appalled when the Cannes film festival cut some of the French subtitles. His son David, a photographer, recalled: "He hadn't been told this was going to happen. He stood up and yelled out that this film had been censored. He went upstairs to the projection booth and turned off the switches. He was then pushed down a flight of stairs by festival goons. My father and his associates withdrew the film immediately from the festival." The film remained banned in Ireland until 2000. Strick then directed, produced and co-wrote adaptations of Henry Miller's novel Tropic of Cancer (1970) and Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1977); he also produced the 1983 movie Never Cry Wolf.

In 1977 he developed a six-axis motion simulator as an entertainment system. Though it never got beyond the prototype stage, the Star Tours attraction at Disney theme parks is based on it, Strick having acted as technical consultant. In the early 1960s Strick commissioned the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer to design a house for him and his first wife, Anne, on the edge of Santa Monica Canyon. They separated before it was completed, and he never lived in what is the only Niemeyer house in North America. Subsequently he lived mainly in Paris. Joseph Strick is survived by his second wife, Martine, and by three sons and two daughters.>>> Edited from various sources

Stephen Dedalus' search for knowledge and understanding, and the decline of his family's circumstances, lead him to revelations on the nature of art and politics. His personal renaissance makes him feel unwelcome in his own nation, and forces him to decide whether to leave and accept exile, or to stay and fight. Craig Burley IMDb

The film, in colour, sets much green landscape and plenty of warm brick against relatively little solid stonescape: An atavist setting determined by rigid institutions and much dogmatic religion. The philosophical discussions, which are much of a driver in the Joycean' original, come across rather timidly compared to the Ulysses film, where the signs of ferment and transition are much clearer established.

Earlier reviews: 146 Ulysses (Joseph Strick, 1967, 132') -A dream, 5/9/2012; 47us Under the volcano (John Huston, 1984, 112') -Volcanic 7/7/2012; 116 The Dead (John Huston, 1987, 83')‬‬‬ -A wake, 27/7/2012.

230 - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Joseph Strick, 1977, 92') -A long way to go - 13/3/2013
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