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The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)

PG | | Drama | 30 May 1973 (France)
From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for ... See full summary »

Director:

Paul Newman

Writers:

Paul Zindel (play), Alvin Sargent (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joanne Woodward ... Beatrice Hunsdorfer
Nell Potts ... Matilda Hunsdorfer
Roberta Wallach ... Ruth Hunsdorfer
Judith Lowry ... Nanny Annie
David Spielberg ... Mr. John Goodman
Richard Venture Richard Venture ... Floyd Hunsdorfer
Carolyn Coates Carolyn Coates ... Mrs. McKay
Will Hare ... Junk Man
Estelle Omens Estelle Omens ... Caroline Hunsdorfer
Jess Osuna ... Trooper Sonny Gunderson
Ellen Dano Ellen Dano ... Janice Vickery
Lynne Rogers Lynne Rogers ... Miss Edith Hanley
Roger Serbagi Roger Serbagi ... Charlie
John Lehne John Lehne ... Apartment Manager
Michael Kearney Michael Kearney ... Chris Burns
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Storyline

From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for her life in the classified ads while all about her is the rubble of an unkempt house. All she needs is the right opportunity, she says puffing on a cigarette. Poorly equipped to survive the vagaries of modern life, she has nonetheless always managed to muddle through. Ruth, epileptic and making her way through the rebellious phase of adolescence, seems doomed to make the same mistakes as her mother. Quiet Matilda, on the other hand, seeks refuge in her animals and her schoolwork. "Jesus, don't you hate the world, Matilda?" Beatrice asks her youngest daughter. The title of the film is also the subject of Matilda's science project at school and serves as a metaphor for the way life affects each of us differently -- how some are able to find opportunity in adversity and thrive and how some succumb when ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Life's been a real bitch to Beatrice Hunsdorfer. And vice versa. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 May 1973 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Influência dos Raios Gama no Comportamento das Margaridas See more »

Filming Locations:

Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$84,462
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original New York production of "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" by Paul Zindel with Sada Thompson as Beatrice opened off-Broadway on April 7, 1970 at the Mercer Arts Center and ran for 819 performances. Mr. Zindel received the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for the work. Ms. Thompson was succeeded in the role by Joan Blondell, Carolyn Coates, Cathryn Damon and Mary Hara. A subsequent Broadway production with Shelley Winters as Beatrice opened on March 14, 1978 at the Biltmore Theater and ran for 16 performances. See more »

Goofs

When Beatrice arrives at her sister-in-law Caroline's house, we see Caroline and her three bridge-playing friends in one shot. Later, when Beatrice yells at her brother-in-law through the bathroom door, we see the three ladies a second time in a reaction shot. Only one of them appears in both shots, although wearing a different outfit each time. The other two card-playing friends were played by different extras in each shot. See more »

Quotes

Matilda: I've got to go to school. I'm late already. I've got a science test second period.
Beatrice: Pshh. Science, huh? Well, you tell Mr. Goodman there's a lot of work to be done around here, so he'd better not count on you spending your days with half-life. Tell him if he wants to find out about half-life, he can come and ask me; I'm the original half-life. I've got one daughter with half a mind, the other who's half a test tube, a house half-full of rabbit crap and half a corpse. That's a half-life, all ...
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Connections

References Guiding Light (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

On, Wisconsin!
(uncredited)
Music by William T. Purdy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An interesting drama
4 August 2006 | by killerjim4See all my reviews

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Wow! Long title...) is an interesting drama about an awful mother and her two teenage daughters. The mother, Beatrice (Joanne Woodward), is a widow who doesn't really work. She instead chain smokes, complains about everything, insults everyone, including her kids, and doesn't seem to know how to raise children. Her oldest daughter Ruth (Roberta Wallach) is a popular cheerleader, who occasionally has convulsions. Youngest daughter Matilda (Nell Potts, Woodward's real life daughter) is good at science, but is very shy and has no friends (despite being more attractive, in my opinion). They have an old woman as a border to earn some money. This movie is very sweet and deals realistically with family problems. Beatrice is obnoxious and self-centered and Ruth is the same. The only character one can sympathize with is shy Matilda. The film was directed by Paul Newman, husband of Woodward and father of Potts. It was based on a play by Paul Zindel, who wrote a book, "The Pigman", that I had to read for high school. I think the movie was once available on VHS, but it's probably out-of-print. I hope someday the Newman family will take some time off from making spaghetti sauce to collaborate with 20th Century Fox to give this movie the deluxe DVD treatment.


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