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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter(1968)


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  • Bittersweet beautiful little film

    • ja661
    • 2/2/19

    I missed this movie when I was growing up - It didn't seem pertinent to me at the time. That was a mistake. Alan Arkin gives a beautiful performance as the mute man who wants to belong. He wants to be significant like all of us do but doesn't feel he makes an impact. Yet he plays a very affecting person to the town drunk, the doctor and sondra locke and he changes all three of their lives in some manner - yet they don't acknowledge it to him I was particularly impressed with both Alan Arkin's and Sondra Locke's performances - the rest of the picture was good, but this was their show and they were recognized with Oscar nominations. This film - while slow in spots - is a moving picture that is worth the 2 hours to view. On my scale - it's an 84.

  • seek help if..

    • a.morris
    • 9/13/18

    I think the story is special. The idea of a character closed off. Unable to really express everything inside them. They still help so many people but that is not enough. The last thing said in the movie is one of the Greatest Lines Ever. IF you Reach a certain age and never feel something when you see all of this movie you have problems.


    • 2/12/17


  • the heart is a lonely hunter

    • kevin sellers
    • 3/25/15

    As the title implies this film's theme is loneliness and the failure of people to connect with one another. These ills drive its two protagonists to sad fates; Alan Arkin's deaf mute Singer commits suicide, while Sondra Locke's awkward, outcast adolescent Mick Kelley, by the film's end, sure as hell looks like a candidate for spinsterhood, unless she escapes that large Southern town. (doubtful) The only characters who achieve any measure of happiness are the African American doctor and his daughter, whom Singer helps to reconcile. Otherwise, this is a relentlessly downbeat study in misery and loss that makes no attempt to lighten its depressing load in any way. You have to admire the integrity of such an approach, but I always feel melancholia is easier to swallow if coated with at least a thin shell of humor, which this film sedulously avoids. For that reason, and despite the fine performances by Arkin, Locke, Percey Rodriguez, and Stacey Keach, in his first film, (but not Cicely Tyson who, in my opinion, cannot break out of the angry, young, African American woman stereotype) I'd have to give it a B plus. P.S. In the lens of James Wong Howe Selma Alabama has never looked so beautiful. Bit of irony there, huh?

  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    • John
    • 8/5/13

    Overall-2 1/2 out of 5Lead Performers-4/5Supporting Cast-2/5Director-2/5Score-3/5Screenplay-2/5Cinematography-3/5Importance-2/5Recommendation for fans of the genre-2/5

  • A walk Down memory lane

    • Mark Mckee
    • 11/28/11

    I was 12 when this film was shot in Selma, Al. l Lived there At the time. It was the talk of the town. I rode my bike in every location And was even offered a part in the film as the red headed freckled face kid. I turned it down at the time, because I was to shy. When it was released I went to the Wilby Theater in Selma with family. It's no longer there . The Theater itself looked like something out of Gone With The Wind. A long winding spiral staircase.Beautiful portraits taller than I was. The large red brick hotel in the film was just as magnificant. The grave yard scene at the end of the movie is just across the street from my grandmothers house . Believe it or not it still looks the same today. As a twelve year old I thought the film was boring and sad, but now that I'm 54 I realize it portrays real life with all its saddness and joy combined. I've been wanting to show this film to my own kids now. I wonder what there review will be like 40 years later. All in all it's a classic . Few films touch the heart of man like this one. It makes me think about how I treat my fellow man. FIVE STARS.

  • sub-plot of racism

    • S. turner MD JD
    • 6/18/11

    Americans do not know even basic history-only 12% passed a basic test, it is no surprise that in history dealing with racism, African-Americans, anything to do with black history is close to nil. Racism was just as bad or worse in the north. New Jersey was called the Georgia of the north. Most whites & young black people today do not know that slavery existed in the north & the south. As late as the late 60s, a black man could be stopped by the police for wearing a suit if he were not a preacher, teacher, or a doctor. Black men & women are stopped & harassed by the police today for driving a fancy car or for no reason.The doctor in the film is embittered for good reasons. White men do not have to deal with a lack of respect & emasculation on a daily basis. Today the AMA-American Medical Association admits that quality of care sadly depends on the color of your skin. In 2011, black people do not get the same care as white people due to racism, cultural myths, prejudice, & the way white & black doctors are raised to believe from home & that most bigoted & dangerous of racist tools-the TV . The TV & media are so strongly convincing & such a part of our lives that even some black people believe the negativity & bashing of black people that is so prevalent in this country. We need to talk about it, not run & pretend it does not exist or to get over it. It is not over & it has generational ramifications. You would never tell a Jewish person to get over it & as a group Jewish people are strongly financially & politically empowered, unlike Black people. The horrors of slavery & Jim Crow should serve as a lesson in bigotry against other groups & as Americans look for scape goats. The sub-plot of the brutality of the legal system is just as relevant today. Black men daring to touch white women echoes still as proven false claims of rape by black men who served decades in prison. Gross disparity exists at all levels of society-housing, education, legal, employment.

  • racism is never overdone nor done

    • s. turner MD JD
    • 6/18/11

    The reviewer who feels that racism is overdone in this movie is clearly one of those citizens who feels uncomfortable with the idea of racism in America. Racism continues and is getting worse, the pain and suffering of such a vile evil entity is never overdone. If only America would admit the existence of this ugly fact of life, we could begin to heal and rid this country of this scourge. Movies and TV are more racist than ever with the exclusion of black women in leading roles or included at all except for a few recycled actresses or the ever present stereotypical roles. As part of the entitled and arrogant group you cannot "See." White women are rarely killed in films of today- if the producer wants a successful return and they do not even get a smudge on their faces as we are constantly reminded how beautiful they are-regardless of what they look like, while black women are usually absent from film, are killed off early, have extremely minor roles, have typical stereotyped negative portrayals, are never referred to for their beauty(save Halle Berry) or viewed with respect or simple dignity. We are often sexually handicapped to protect society,made blind, bitchy, cold, gay, disinterested.The subliminal and covert messages in films tell us white life is more valuable than black life, all blacks( term used to dehumanize ) are criminal or prostitutes, drug dealers, ghetto dwellers and black children are never portrayed the way all these highly-gifted and beautiful white child actresses are. Positive terms - beautiful, gorgeous, breath-taking, intelligent are saved for white people. you can see that ol' time deep southern attitude returning full force. Gutter sexuality, denigration of black culture equating us to the lowest common denominator(the opposite for white culture) is more rampant than ever. See the movie- Josephine Baker for the vile hateful comments. White Hollywood producers, writers, are taking us to new lows in terms of bigotry and race


    • JOE
    • 1/25/11

    BEAUTIFUL...HAUNTING....STICKS TO YOUR BONES, AND SOUL, LONG AFTER THE ENDING...I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable, sophisticated fan of classic well-made movies, both big and small...Last night, I saw this movie for the first time, on TCM...As I sat in my chair for a long time afterward, just staring at the tv screen and Robert Osborne's commentary, I kept repeating to my wife and myself..."There is one of the best damn films I have ever seen." It may not be totally loyal to the original novel, but--like Elmer Gantry, and countless other movie adaptations of literature--this movie can stand "on it's own" as a "work of art." A great, "little" film with many "little" moments and characters...well acted...Some reviewers are critical of either the brief scenes which "jump around" and of the sub-plot of racism in the late 1960s south....I think these are two of the strong points....Just sit back, clear your mind of expectations, relax, and just watch and listen....the novel, and this film, are about the "real people" of society...the ones we pass by everyday....the ones, like us, who have their own individual struggles and heartaches....Mr. Arkin and certainly, Sandra Locke...this film is the best damn thing you have ever done...hope to see it again, late at night, every few months, on TCM.

  • Untitled

    • Rocky
    • 1/25/11

    I saw this movie when I was an usher in a movie theater. However, I forgot how good it was. Warner Bros/Seven Arts released two tear jerkers that year directed by Ralph Ellis Miller the other one was Sweet November. Another excellent film. Sondra Locke as Mick at Mr. Sanger's gravesite telling him that she loved him, tore my heart out. This was the sixties when they made movies, not video games.

  • Don't look for any comedy relief.

    • denscul
    • 1/24/11

    I saw this while I was in the service on 16mm film. Of the 25 or 30 men who started watching the film, I was the only one left before the film was half over. The projectionist wanted to leave, but I outranked him. I was kidded about being wimp, watching such a "soap opera" but the film is a gem, and as I watched it more than 40 years later on TCM with my wife who stayed up with me, I am convinced that if you have a good script, good actors who may not be box office stars, you can make a gem. This film reminds me of Marty. Its about lonely people who find love. Carson Mc Cullers who also wrote Invitation to the Wedding had a difficult life, and she wrote well on a subject she was intimately familiar. This film is unlike Marty because its ending does not end on a happy but entirely realistic note. The only fault I found in the film was the 1968 racial attitude in the film. The country was going through racial trauma at the time, and some Hollywood attempts to portray the racial injustice of the time sometimes was overdone, as I think it was in this film. By over reaching the relationship between the doctor and his daughter played by a young Cicely Tyson, her husband and the White Alan Arkin, the film leaves the timeless subjects of lonlyness, love, the universal hardships of life that know no boundaries of time, place or race. Whenever I see a film attempting to send a "message" that "message" should be understood by an audience watching a century later. Great works of art survive because they not topical, but permenent problems understood by audiences generations removed from when the art was created.This film should probably end up being Alan Arkin's signature piece. As much as I loved Arkin's performance in "The Russians are Coming", a lot of the comedy will be lost as time separates us from the Cold War.

  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    • Jeanna Bailey
    • 1/24/11

    This is one of the most beautiful, sensitive and emotional pictures that I have ever seen. This is my first time seeing it and I was deeply touched. Memorable performance by all the actors.

  • Alan Arkin SHOULD Have Won The Oscar!

    • Linda Nitzschke
    • 1/21/11

    Alan Arkin was nominated for Best Actor for this, and he really should have won, but lost to Cliff Robertson (Charly). I've never forgotten this movie since I first saw it when it came out in 1968. Thank you for showing it!

  • Alan Arkin wins oscar

    • Mark Hutchinson
    • 3/3/07

    This 1968 drama is a real gem.One of Mr.Arkins'best performence's.Since it is not in print, please air it so I may tape it. Thank's

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