Picks and Pans Review: Long Day's Journey into Night
updated 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Eugene O'Neill's great play has been remade more than your Aunt Mary's brownie recipe. But this time somebody spiked the batch with vinegar. Blech. Jack Lemmon stars—or tries very hard to—as the father in a family messed up by his wife's drug addiction, one son's alcoholism, the other son's tuberculosis and his own emotional greed. Lemmon overdoes the role to a crisp. He uses voices you'd expect to hear coming from the mouths of purple monsters in some Disney cartoon. His mannerisms are even more grating. When Lemmon accuses one son of being a less than loyal Catholic, the son says: "I don't notice you've worn any holes in the knees of your pants." Lemmon stops and jerks his head down to stare at his knees, as if he's surprised to find them whole, as if he's playing the scene in vaudeville, not Broadway. I don't know whether that idea is Lemmon's or director Jonathan Miller's, but I hate what they've done to the play. Only Peter Gallagher as the sick son saves this production from a fate worse than F.