The Whales of August

1987

Drama /

8
IMDb Rating 7.5

Synopsis


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1.74G
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English
23.976 (23976/1000) FPS /
90 min
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23.976 (23976/1000) FPS /
90 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Shelly_Servo3000 10

I&#39;m 22 years old and yet this movie about two elderly sisters and their friends touched my heart deeply.<br/><br/>I must admit before I begin that I am a fan of Bette Davis and Vincent Price, and that Miss Lillian Gish is my all time favorite actress, so my view of this film may be skewed. However, I must admit and admire the sheer artistry of these actors (including the unsung Ann Sothern) and their ability to take a simple story and turn it into an engaging, emotional tour de force film of power and majesty.<br/><br/>Miss Gish was in the twilight of her life in this, her last film, but you could still see the same actress who touched audiences in 1919&#39;s &quot;Broken Blossoms&quot;...the same powerful skills which are on display in 1928&#39;s &quot;The Wind&quot;, and the same quiet dignity portrayed in 1959&#39;s &quot;The Night of the Hunter&quot;. Her scenes are by far the finest of the movie.<br/><br/>I must respectfully disagree with my fellow reviewers in their dismissal of Bette Davis&#39;s performance. Her character was supposed to be hard-headed, mean, and in bad health (why else keep harking on dying?). Bette is all of these things. I could really feel that she WAS Libby. Although her constant yelling of &quot;SAY-rah&quot; was a little annoying, but that&#39;s Ms. Davis for you.<br/><br/>Vincent Price was a revelation for those of us who have only seen him as a schlockmiester. His role as the Count, warm, friendly, scared and courtly, was probably the most sympathetic character in the film.<br/><br/>All in all, a touching, beautiful tribute to the legends of the screen and to the movies themselves. A lost breed of film.

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Reviewed by Keith F. Hatcher 8

This is a delightful piece set on the magnificent shores of New England&#39;s Atlantic Ocean, with an absolutely unrepeatable cast. Starring not only Bette Davis and Lilian Gish, alone worth anybody&#39;s money, well advanced into the autumn of their years, but also a very welcome Vincent Price, and a magnificent Ann Sothern together with her real daughter, Tisha Sterling.<br/><br/>A slow sensitive story in which each one looks back on life from differing perspectives; as usual, Bette Davis is in a dominating r?le, which, despite her advanced years, carries off quite well; Lillian Gish is just superb, lending that toned-down equanimous nature of hers which pervades the whole atmosphere of the film. And as the film develops around their house and in the garden and on the cliff-tops looking out to sea in earnest attempts to see the whales making their way south, the quiet contemplativeness of the film holds you. This is a film you will cherish and savour long afterwards. Which is why it is in my video collection since 1993 and why IMDb contributors 15 years on are still commenting on this heart-warming piece, half a dozen of them only so far this year.<br/><br/>So as to make a contrast, I suggest that impressive classic &#39;Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?&#39; (1962), with Bette Davis playing against Joan Crawford: an intense dramatic piece. <br/><br/>Just a few weeks after being invited to the San Sebastián Film Festival ? her last public engagement ? Bette Davis died, as has Lillian Gish: unrepeatable.

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Reviewed by drednm 10

This 1987 film is truly remarkable in its own small way. The film centers on a beautiful and simple story about the bonds of sisters, the disappointments of life, and the waning days of one last summer on the coast of Maine.<br/><br/>The legendary, and I mean LEGENDARY, Lillian Gish stars here at age 93 as Sarah. Having appeared in about 120 films over an incredible span of 75 years (1912-87), Gish goes about her business of being an actress with great dignity and skill. There are several quiet scenes in which she talks to old photographs as she cleans or fixes up her hair and makeup. She&#39;s truly enchanting.<br/><br/>The legendary Bette Davis doesn&#39;t fare quite as well playing the harsh Libby. Davis (post- stroke) is certainly easy to believe as the flinty sister who is blind and bitter. Davis was almost 80 here and had also racked up about 120 films, dating from 1931. <br/><br/>As Tisha, Ann Sothern (more than 100 films) earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination as the nosy, pushy friend who hasn&#39;t quite given up on life. Sothern started as a dancer in films in 1927 as a delicate blonde beauty. Vincent Price (almost 180 films from 1938) plays the charming drifter (and foreigner) who may be looking for a new place to live. And Harry Carey, Jr. (son of Harry Carey, a cowboy star in silent films) plays the fixit man who wants to install a picture window. <br/><br/>There&#39;s little action here as the sisters squabble about daily routines and long-ago events in their lives. Gish is ever hopeful while Davis is always mistrusting. The 4 stars work well together although the age differences are apparent. Davis uses her usual Boston voice; Sothern tries out a pretty good &quot;down east&quot; accent. Price plays a Russian émigré, and Gish speaks in her own voice. <br/><br/>The feeling of 50s Maine is just right. The house, perched on a small cliff looking out to sea, looks right. The island (this was filmed in Casco Bay) is gorgeous and captures the simplicity of old Maine just perfectly. The atmosphere is windy and overgrown and rocky. It&#39;s the Maine of my childhood.<br/><br/>This marks the final film appearance of Gish and Sothern. While Sothern was the only one to win an Oscar nomination, she, along with Gish and Price, won Independent Spirit nominations. What a pity that Gish did not win Oscar recognition for this role and for her astonishing longevity in film. Gish earned only one Oscar nomination (for DUEL IN THE SUN) and an honorary award in 1971.<br/><br/>Gish did win the best actress award from the National Board of Review.

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