The Grass Harp

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The American South, a town full of eccentrics, the late '30s - and Furlong is the chap with the growing up to do when his mother dies and he's left in the company of his aunts (Spacek is the sensible one, Laurie the nature loving, touchy-feely sister she doesn't get on with). The plot (adapted from a Truman Capote novel by Stirling Silliphant and Kirk Ellis) rouses itself when Laurie's home-brew herbal dropsy cure attracts the attention of Lemmon's 'chemical engineer', a shyster with his eye on Spacek's fortune. His arrival causes such division in the household that Laurie retires to a tree house, a crisis requiring the intervention of kindly retired judge Matthau. Town barber McDowall, Durning's blustery reverend and Steenburgen's travelling evangelist also make their contributions to Furlong's life lessons, in a movie so old fashioned it makes Fried Green Tomatoes looks like a Gregg Araki picture. Old fashioned but not much cop, unfortunately, since director Charles Matthau (son of Walter) indulges his crusty old hams to the nth degree. Capote's prose glitters on the page, but this moves like treacle through its own wrongheaded sense of self-importance.

Release details

Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Charles Matthau
Screenwriter: Stirling Silliphant, Kirk Ellis
Cast: Piper Laurie
Sissy Spacek
Walter Matthau
Edward Furlong
Nell Carter
Jack Lemmon
Mary Steenburgen
Sean Patrick Flannery
Joe Don Baker
Charles Durning
Roddy McDowall
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