Promises In The Dark


1h 55m 1979
Promises In The Dark

Brief Synopsis

A struggling doctor finds challenge and reward with her young patient.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1979
Production Company
Orion Pictures
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Location
Connecticut, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Synopsis

A struggling doctor finds challenge and reward with her young patient.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1979
Production Company
Orion Pictures
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Location
Connecticut, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 55m
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Articles

Promises in the Dark -


Jerome Hellman produced (among other films) Midnight Cowboy (1970) and Coming Home (1978) but he only directed a single feature in his illustrious career. Promises in the Dark (1979), with an original screenplay by Emmy-winning writer Loring Mandel, stars Marsha Mason as Dr. Alexandra Kendall, an emotionally-guarded doctor whose shell is broken through by her patient Elizabeth "Buffy" Koenig (Kathleen Beller), a bright, sunny high school student with bone cancer.

Mason was a veteran stage actress when she earned her first Academy Award nomination in the romantic drama Cinderella Liberty (1973) but her career took a turn towards romantic comedies with The Goodbye Girl (1977), the first of a series of a roles written by her husband, the playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon and her second of four Oscar nominated performances. Promises in the Dark offered her a dramatic role closer to the serious plays of her early stage career, playing a recently divorced professional wary of emotional connection. In an interview with author James Grissom, the great playwright Tennessee Williams praised Mason's performance: "There is a remarkable scene in a restaurant, where this intelligent, strong physician, seemingly in control of her life... eats alone and sees an older woman doing the same, daubing her dry lips, topped with a helmet of dry, unmoving hair. This is her future, perhaps. Death awaits us all. We then cut to this woman, sitting on a bed, checking her breasts for lumps, disorder, decay. Death, she knows, is coming for us all, for her, and her life hasn't been lived yet.... [I]t is a tiny master class in acting."

Ned Beatty and Susan Clark co-star as Buffy's affluent, protective parents, adrift as they feel helpless against the cancer, and Michael Brandon plays a radiologist who romances the resistant Dr. Kendall, but the story belongs to the characters played by Mason and Kathleen Beller. The talented young Beller was in her twenties but, with her doe eyes and slight frame, looked the part of a 17-year-old high school student. She had made her film debut in The Godfather: Part II (1974) and played the title role in the splashy Harold Robbins potboiler The Betsy (1978) opposite Laurence Olivier and Tommy Lee Jones before being cast as the tragic student facing the death sentence of terminal cancer, and she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. She went on to star in Fort Apache the Bronx (1981) and the cult fantasy The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) and joined the cast of the glitzy prime time soap opera Dynasty to raise a family with her husband, musician/producer Thomas Dolby.

Hellman began as a talent agent representing directors, writer, and producers working on television during the golden age of live TV in the 1950s and turned producer in the 1960s with The World of Henry Orient (1964), directed by his former client George Roy Hill. He was not prolific, producing only seven features in his career, but his first earned 17 Academy Award nominations and won six Oscars, including Best Picture for Midnight Cowboy. He produced one more film after Promises: The Mosquito Coast (1986) with Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and River Phoenix.

Sources:
The Actor Within: Intimate Conversations with Great Actors, Rose Eichenbaum. Wesleyan University Press, 2011.
Journey: A Personal Odyssey, Marsha Mason. 2000, Simon and Schuster.
"Marsha Mason: Raw, Angry Talent," interview with Tennessee Williams by James Grissom. Follies of God by James Grissom on blogspot, 2013.
IMDb

By Sean Axmaker
Promises In The Dark -

Promises in the Dark -

Jerome Hellman produced (among other films) Midnight Cowboy (1970) and Coming Home (1978) but he only directed a single feature in his illustrious career. Promises in the Dark (1979), with an original screenplay by Emmy-winning writer Loring Mandel, stars Marsha Mason as Dr. Alexandra Kendall, an emotionally-guarded doctor whose shell is broken through by her patient Elizabeth "Buffy" Koenig (Kathleen Beller), a bright, sunny high school student with bone cancer. Mason was a veteran stage actress when she earned her first Academy Award nomination in the romantic drama Cinderella Liberty (1973) but her career took a turn towards romantic comedies with The Goodbye Girl (1977), the first of a series of a roles written by her husband, the playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon and her second of four Oscar nominated performances. Promises in the Dark offered her a dramatic role closer to the serious plays of her early stage career, playing a recently divorced professional wary of emotional connection. In an interview with author James Grissom, the great playwright Tennessee Williams praised Mason's performance: "There is a remarkable scene in a restaurant, where this intelligent, strong physician, seemingly in control of her life... eats alone and sees an older woman doing the same, daubing her dry lips, topped with a helmet of dry, unmoving hair. This is her future, perhaps. Death awaits us all. We then cut to this woman, sitting on a bed, checking her breasts for lumps, disorder, decay. Death, she knows, is coming for us all, for her, and her life hasn't been lived yet.... [I]t is a tiny master class in acting." Ned Beatty and Susan Clark co-star as Buffy's affluent, protective parents, adrift as they feel helpless against the cancer, and Michael Brandon plays a radiologist who romances the resistant Dr. Kendall, but the story belongs to the characters played by Mason and Kathleen Beller. The talented young Beller was in her twenties but, with her doe eyes and slight frame, looked the part of a 17-year-old high school student. She had made her film debut in The Godfather: Part II (1974) and played the title role in the splashy Harold Robbins potboiler The Betsy (1978) opposite Laurence Olivier and Tommy Lee Jones before being cast as the tragic student facing the death sentence of terminal cancer, and she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. She went on to star in Fort Apache the Bronx (1981) and the cult fantasy The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) and joined the cast of the glitzy prime time soap opera Dynasty to raise a family with her husband, musician/producer Thomas Dolby. Hellman began as a talent agent representing directors, writer, and producers working on television during the golden age of live TV in the 1950s and turned producer in the 1960s with The World of Henry Orient (1964), directed by his former client George Roy Hill. He was not prolific, producing only seven features in his career, but his first earned 17 Academy Award nominations and won six Oscars, including Best Picture for Midnight Cowboy. He produced one more film after Promises: The Mosquito Coast (1986) with Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and River Phoenix. Sources: The Actor Within: Intimate Conversations with Great Actors, Rose Eichenbaum. Wesleyan University Press, 2011. Journey: A Personal Odyssey, Marsha Mason. 2000, Simon and Schuster. "Marsha Mason: Raw, Angry Talent," interview with Tennessee Williams by James Grissom. Follies of God by James Grissom on blogspot, 2013. IMDb By Sean Axmaker

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Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1979

Released in United States 1979