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The Grass Harp (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Grass Harp
Film poster
Directed byCharles Matthau
Produced byCharles Matthau
Jerry Tokofsky
John Winfield
Screenplay byStirling Silliphant
Based onThe Grass Harp
by Truman Capote
Narrated byBoyd Gaines
Music byPatrick Williams
CinematographyJohn A. Alonzo
Distributed byFine Line Features
Release date
  • September 1995 (1995-09) (TIFF)
  • October 11, 1996 (1996-10-11) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8 million
Box office$559,677[1]

The Grass Harp is a 1995 American comedy-drama film based on the novella by Truman Capote; the screenplay was the final work of Oscar-winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant. The film was directed by Charles Matthau, and starred Piper Laurie, Sissy Spacek, the director's father Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Edward Furlong, and Nell Carter.[2] Piper Laurie won the Best Supporting Actress award from the Southeastern Film Critics Association for her work on the film.[3]


Set in a small 1940s Alabama town, the film follows Collin Fenwick (Edward Furlong) as he is sent to live with his father's maiden cousins, the sweet Dolly (Piper Laurie) and the overbearing Verena (Sissy Spacek), following the death of his mother. He soon discovers that the Talbo household is anything but normal. After also losing his father, Collin grows to be close to Dolly and Catherine (Nell Carter) and becomes acquainted with the eccentric townspeople, from the gossip-loving barber (Roddy McDowall) to a traveling evangelist with fifteen illegitimate offspring (Mary Steenburgen). To escape Verena's oppression, Dolly, Collin, and Catherine run away to an old tree house in the woods. Their rebellion sparks a series of events that change their lives and the entire town as well.[3][4][5]


Development and production

The Grass Harp feature film was closely based on Truman Capote's 1951 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. The screenplay was written by Stirling Silliphant and Kirk Ellis. Silliphant's prior credits included In the Heat of the Night, The Towering Inferno, and The Poseidon Adventure. The film was directed by Charles Matthau, son of Walter Matthau. It was filmed on location in Wetumpka, Alabama.[5]


The New York Times review of the film stated that the actors' performances were "uniformly expert, sharp renderings of distinctive individuals" and that Charles Matthau had "managed to set them in a landscape specifically distant and atmospheric".[5] The Los Angeles Times review called it a beguiling film and one that "celebrates rebirth and renewal but within a tough-minded view of life that never allows it to lapse into a fairy tale".[6] Variety called it a "sensitive screenplay adaptation" and noted the film's "wonderful ensemble cast".[7] Despite generally good reviews, the film did poorly at the box office. With an estimated budget of $9 million, the film grossed only roughly $1.5 million in ticket sales.[8]


  1. ^ The Grass Harp at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "The Grass Harp". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "The Grass Harp". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  4. ^ "The Grass Harp". Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  5. ^ a b c Van Gelder, Lawrence (1996-10-11). "Movie Review: The Grass Harp". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  6. ^ Thomas, Kevin (1996-10-11). "Movie Review: The Grass Harp". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 2, 2009. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  7. ^ Kimmel, Daniel (1995-09-18). "Film review: The Grass Harp (1995)". Variety. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  8. ^ "The Grass Harp: Box office/business". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-10-23.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 July 2020, at 01:51
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