The definitive Eugene O’Neill on film, Lumet’s flawless adaptation of the author’s autobiographical, Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece stars Ralph Richardson as the embittered stage actor James Tyrone, husband to a recovering (or relapsing?) morphine addict (Oscar-nominee Katharine Helpburn) and father to an alcoholic fellow actor (Jason Robards Jr., recreating his role from the original Broadway production) and a tubercular merchant seaman (Dean Stockwell). Shot entirely in sequence at New York’s Chelsea Studios following a lengthy rehearsal period with the cast, Long Day’s Journey swept the acting prizes of the 1962 Cannes Film Festival, winning a collective Best Actor trophy for Richardson, Robards, and Stockwell, and Best Actress for Hepburn.
“After such an experience, I don’t see how one can niggle over whether it’s ‘cinema’ or merely ‘filmed theatre.’ Whatever it is, it’s great…Katharine Hepburn has surpassed herself—the most beautiful comedienne of the thirties and forties has become our greatest tragedienne; seeing her transitions in Journey, the way she can look eighteen or eighty at will, experiencing the magic in the art of acting, once can understand why the appellation ‘the divine’ has sometimes been awarded to certain actresses.”
—Pauline Kael