For all the advantages of having entertainment and music available on-demand, there’s arguably a downside to at-will personal programming: With so much binge-worthy content at our fingertips at all times, there are phenomenal films that get lost in the shuffle of time and the overabundance of content.
Kudos to Sag Harbor Cinema for not only bringing John Huston’s stunning classic, The Dead, back to the big screen this week, but popping a cherry on top of this treat in the form of a post-movie Q&A with the movie’s cinematographer and producer.
For his last film before his death in 1987, the great, prolific writer, actor and director Huston didn’t go for something like his ambitious novel-to-screen rendition of Moby Dick in 1956, genre-defining film noir like the Bogey-Bacall classic like Key Largo or The Maltese Falcon, or even the black-comedy darling, Prizzi’s Honor. Instead, he made the seemingly odd choice to bring to visual life James Joyce’s short but emotionally mighty story, the last one in his collection entitled The Dubliners.
“When The Dead opened posthumously, at the end of 1987, it carried such an aura of magic—it felt both solemn and luminous, intimate and grand,” said SHC’s Founding Artistic Director, Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan, in a statement about the re-release. “That magic remains undiminished today. I am thrilled we can screen the film in a rare 35mm print kindly made available to us by the Library of Congress, and in the presence of [cinematographer] Fred Murphy and [producer] Chris Sievernich, who were on Huston’s set.”
Whether you’ve read the story or seen the movie before matters not; it’s a moving, soul-stirring tale of love and loss, of remembering and of moving on. Set in Dublin 1904 and starring Huston’s Academy Award-winning daughter, Angelica Huston, along with Irish stage and film star, Donal McCann, the whole film takes place on the night of the Epiphany, the celebration in Catholicism of the night the three gift-bearing wise men arrived in Bethlehem, and in some cultures also the night when gifts are exchanged for the Christmas holiday.
As it happens, the screening is nicely timed for the 2023 Epiphany, but seeing this gorgeous movie may bring you to arrive at an epiphany or two of your own. For this one-night-only special screening and talk, it’s a good idea to procure your tickets ahead of time—nab them here!