THE ADDAMS FAMILY
US, 1991, 99 minutes, Colour.
Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Cristina Ricci, Dan Hedaya, Elizabeth Wilson, Dana Ivey.
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
The Addams Family is based on the cartoons by Charles Addams in The New Yorker and, of course, the television series of the '60s. The film takes the characters - making them resemble the stars of the '60s including Caroline Jones and John Astin as Morticia and Gomez. However, the film is given 1990s Technicolor widescreen treatment as well as technological developments and special effects.
The film amusingly subverts the world of American sitcoms. The nice, genial, asexual family is parodied with everything being bad, games being malicious, an emphasis on sexuality. The jokes work very well as a spoof critique of the American sentimental way of looking at things.
Anjelica Huston is particularly good as Morticia, languidly gliding in and out of the film, her understated remarks very humorous. Raul Julia has more extrovert flair as Gomez. Christopher Lloyd enjoys hamming as Uncle Fester. Christina Ritchie is particularly good as the insidious Wednesday and Jimmy Workman is a large and sometimes gross Pugsley. Magician Christopher Hart does very effective things with his Hand.
The direction is by cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who went on to make the sequel and The Concierge with Michael J. Fox. There was a 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values.
1. Charles Addams' New Yorker cartoons, the transferring to the television screen in the '60s? A movie of the '90s? For a young audience, older audience who remember the television series? The film relying on familiarity?
2. The Gothic decor and design of the house? The cemetery? The colour, style - suggestions of evil with the comic touch?
3. The musical score, the theme song, the snapping of the fingers - and the familiar signature tune?
4. The transition to the wide screen, episodic material to the length of a feature, the characters and their caricatures, the plot and its humour? The opening based on the Charles Addams cartoon with the family pouring boiling oil on carol singers?
5. The reversing of the family values, evil for good? The humour and cleverness of the black jokes?
6. Morticia and Gomez, husband and wife, parents? Differing types? Gomez in action, dance, fights, jokes? Morticia as gliding and reserved, understatement? Their relationship with their children? Lurch, Grandmother, with Thing?
7. Wednesday and her insidious evil, playing practical jokes on her brother ... the electric chair and "Is there a God?" ... Pugsley, his size, more boisterous badness?
8. Grandmother, her relationships, the image of the old-style witch, in the background?
9. Lurch and his role in the house, servant? Confidante?
10. Thing and the wizardry of the hand, the range of hand jokes, Thing being involved in the plot - especially for the final rescue?
11. The seance and the search for Fester? The Bermuda Triangle? Tully and his scheming legal work, Abigail Cravit and wanting to take over the estate? The idea for insinuating Gordon into the family?
12. Uncle Fester and his story, his reappearance, feeling at home, the family testing him out, Wednesday's suspicions? Gordon and his love for his mother, her domination? The plan, makeup? The search for the treasure? The various schemes - and their coming awry? Especially for Abigail? Gordon changing his heart? Helping the children, especially with the Shakespearian play?
13. The invitation to the ball, the variety of types and relations? Margaret and Tully? Cousin It?
14. Gordon and his dancing, feeling accepted into the family, believing himself to be Fester?
15. Abigail and the court order, the ousting of the family, the search for the treasure? Her comeuppance?
16. The family being ousted, trying to fend in the real world, their return, Morticia and her being taken, the torture? Thing to the rescue? Gomez and the family returning to Victory?
17. An amusing subversion of American images of family?
Created by: malonelast modification: Thursday 11 of March, 2010 [11:47:49 UTC] by