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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)

G | | Drama | 31 July 1968 (USA)
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When deaf mute Singer moves to a small city to be near his only friend confined in a hospital, he grows attached to his landlady's sensitive 16-year-old daughter.

Writers:

Carson McCullers (from the novel by), Thomas C. Ryan (screenplay by)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Arkin ... John Singer
Chuck McCann ... Antonapoulos
Peter Mamakos ... Spirmonedes
John O'Leary John O'Leary ... Beaudine
Sondra Locke ... Margaret 'Mick' Kelly
Biff McGuire ... Mr. Kelly
Jackie Marlowe Jackie Marlowe ... Bubber
Laurinda Barrett Laurinda Barrett ... Mrs. Kelly
Robbie Barnes Robbie Barnes ... Ralph
Wayne Smith Wayne Smith ... Harry
Richard Fingar Richard Fingar ... Sucker
Sherri Vise Sherri Vise ... Delores
Gavin Paulin Gavin Paulin ... Spareribs
Percy Rodrigues ... Dr. Copeland (as Percy Rodriguez)
Cicely Tyson ... Portia
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Storyline

Sentimental story centers around a deaf-mute, Singer, and Mick, a teenager who lives in the house where he rents a room. Mick and Singer become friends, though they are separated by Singer's lack of communication ability and Mick's struggle with teenage problems. The lives of the people Singer touches are varied, linked only by their friendship with Singer. His friends include a deaf-mute, a drunk, and a doctor. Singer does his best to help those around him solve their problems, but who is there to help him solve his own? Written by Melissa Portell <mportell@s-cwis.unomaha.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...and from this man who could not speak or hear, the girl heard many things.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

31 July 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Herz ist ein einsamer Jäger See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To conceal her age - ostensibly in a bid to muddy the backwaters of her early life - Sondra Locke changed her birth year more times than such notorieties as Joan Crawford, Mae West or Zsa Zsa Gabor. When Heart was being made in 1967, the actress (born Sandra Smith in May 1944) was 23 years old, but an international press release said she was 17. Nashville newspaper The Tennessean called her out on the lie almost right away, but it took decades for syndicated publications to catch on. At the time of the movie's 1968 premiere, Locke claimed to be 21 but was in fact 24. While promoting The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) eight years later, the then 32-year-old gave her age as 20. Various news outlets wrongly reported Locke as being 29 in 1978 (when she was 34); 26 in 1979 (35 then); and 30 in 1980 (actually 36). Her real age was finally confirmed by her maternal half-brother, Donald Locke, in an exclusive interview with The Tennessean in 1989. Sondra Locke was 45 in 1989, but her publicist claimed 42. Locke never came clean about her age, even lying about it in her autobiography. In a 2015 podcast interview, the 71-year-old former star said that she "was just graduating high school" when she started work on this film. Locke graduated high school in May 1962 at age 18 - more than five years before she was cast in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Copeland goes in to see Judge Bronson he enters via a swinging door with a glass panel in it. A member of the camera crew is reflected in the glass as it swings shut. See more »

Quotes

Mick: [At the gravesite] Why did he do it? I keep asking myself that over and over.
Doctor Copeland: Oh, I don't suppose any of us will ever know that. None of us ever knew him... not really. We all brought our troubles to him, never stopping to think he may have troubles of his own.
See more »


Soundtracks

Beyond the Reach of Love
(uncredited)
Written by Dave Grusin
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User Reviews

 
Poignant sixties film with diversity issues abound -- sensitive Alan Arkin performance
2 January 2000 | by ruby_fffSee all my reviews

I cannot forget the theme music of "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" by Dave Grusin. There's a certain pervading peacefulness listening to its strains. Watching the film again on cable reminded me how impressed I was when I first saw it. Ever since, I kept an eye on movies with Alan Arkin in it -- his performance as John Singer, a deaf-mute, was sensitively delivered and commanded respect. It was Sondra Locke's debut appearance. She was young and slim, perfect for the role of "Mick", who learned to accept his disability and was able to share her love of music with him.

Along this life's journey of Singer, his friends included Chuck McCann as the plump fellow deaf-mute, who's playful and loved chocolates; Stacy Keach as the recovering alcoholic and new found chess mate; Percy Rodriguez as the self-righteous black Doctor who has his strife and discords with his daughter Portia, portrayed by a young Cicely Tyson. Lessons in diversity and tolerance are subtly evident as the story progresses. The ending is certainly not of Hollywood standard. Cinematographer James Wong Howe certainly tied in hope through his lens on the final shot with Mick (Sondra Locke) in it.

This film about reaching out and touching someone, irrespective of one's ability to verbally communicate or via signs, of one's race, color, or background, still rings true.


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