The Whales Of August (1987)

LINDSAY ANDERSON

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBB.  USA, 1987.  Nelson Entertainment.  Screenplay by , based on his play.   Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1987.  Independent Spirit Awards 1987.  National Board of Review Awards 1987.  

This film is a chance to see two great veterans of the cinema in action. Lillian Gish, who at 93 was the oldest actress to ever have a leading role in a film, is wonderful as a widow who spends every summer in the same seaside house for fifty years, a place where whales once swam up close to the shore but no longer do. She lives there with her blind sister (Bette Davis), and begins to enjoy the attentions of a gentleman (Vincent Price) who does his fishing near her home. Davis gets nervous, thinking that her sister wants to abandon her, and even though this is not the case, Gish is definitely at a crossroads as to how to find the best way to take care of them both. Ann Sothern adds a lot of life to her scenes as the ladies’ meddlesome niece. It’s very placid, unassuming, touching and memorable if only for the grand talents involved.

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