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The Wild Duck

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The Wild Duck (1983)

directed by Henri Safran
featuring Liv Ullmann, Jeremy Irons, Lucinda Jones, John Meillon, Arthur Dignam

About this title: Director Henri Safran adapts Henrik Ibsen's stage play to an Australian setting and a turn-of-the-century ambience in this uneven presentation of an illicit love and its consequences. Harold (Jeremy Irons) is a somewhat over-the-edge photographer who has lost out at a career in the sciences. His wife Gina (Liv Ullmann) is an opposite personality type: subdued, quiet, not prone to excessive outbursts. Harold's father the Major (John Meillon) lives with the family, which includes the daughter Henrietta (Lucinda Jones) who is slowly going blind -- and all is as normal as possible until Gregory (Arthur Dignam) shows up and in a two-day period, tragedy strikes. The prig Gregory sees it as his obligation to open up his best friend Harold's eyes with some shocking news: Henrietta is not really Harold's daughter at all, but the offspring of an illicit affair between Gregory's father and Gina. Figuring into this relationship is a wild duck that was once wounded by Gregory's father, and its symbolism looms almost too large over the rest of the complex, claustrophobic household as personalities lead events to their fateful end. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

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