1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Treasure
This review refers to the VHS edition .....
Old age and all the problems that go with it, have turned Norman Thayer(Henry Fonda)into a curmudgeon.He is forgetful and thoughts of dieing are foremost in his mind. It doesn't seem to bother his wife Ethel much though(Katherine Hepburn).Always in high spirits and happy to be alive. Her biggest woe is worrying about him...
Published on Nov. 8 2002 by L. Shirley
3.0 out of 5 stars great
The movie was an awsome show of the human spirt and a true coming of age story the acceptance of age accepting death and learning that it is never to late the movie is great the acting was awsome and you really forgot that it was just a movie with no base of truth.
What i didnt like though was the ending it seems to build up to a dramatic powerful tearful ending and...
Published on Nov. 11 2005 by Kirk M. Carr
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Treasure,
This review refers to the VHS edition .....
Old age and all the problems that go with it, have turned Norman Thayer(Henry Fonda)into a curmudgeon.He is forgetful and thoughts of dieing are foremost in his mind. It doesn't seem to bother his wife Ethel much though(Katherine Hepburn).Always in high spirits and happy to be alive. Her biggest woe is worrying about him. The Thayers are spending their 48th year at their summer home On Golden Pond. It will be Norman's 80th birthday, and joining in the celebration will be their daughter Chelsea(Jane Fonda), who Norman has never been able to connect with emotionally.
Chelsea brings with her to the lake her fiance(Dabney Coleman) and his 13 year old son Billy(Doug McKeon)who has some emotional problems of his own. Billy is left to spend the summer with the older couple, which was not what the 13 year old had in mind for a fun vacation.Norman and Billy form an unusal bond over the summer as Ethel watches her husband's renewed zest for life.
The film is one of those that the expression "I laughed. I cried" really is true. The story is an emotional rollercoaster, that you'll want to watch over and over.Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn shine and both recieved best Acting awards in 1981 for their on screen magic. All I could see in the scenes with Henry and Jane together was love. Even when their characters were at odds they too loved each other, and managed to work through it.An incredible acting job by the young Doug McKeon, and Coleman excellent as he goes toe to toe with Henry Fonda.
The music and the scenery are as beautiful as the movie. The pond with the sun shining, the woodsy areas, the loons ever present, were a joy to watch. Directed by Mark Rydell, who seemed to find the beauty of life. Fonda's last film, he left us with one that we can treasure for years to come.
Kick back and enjoy.........Laurie
4.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING NEW TRANSFER OF A CRITICAL MASTERPIECE,
This review is from: On Golden Pond [Import] (DVD)
"On Golden Pond" was a moderately successful, off Broadway play until Jane Fonda decided that it would be the ideal vehicle to help shore up the rift between she and her father, Henry. But under director, Mark Rydell's command, the film version became a tender, poignant and loving account of old age and loving through the ages. Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda (who had never worked together before)were ideal as Ethel and Norman Thayer. Jane is Chelsea, Norma's headstrong, rebellious daughter. See the parallel yet? What followed was a tear-jerker that never became maudelin or trite.
TRANSFER: A really handsome looking transfer indeed. Though plagued by hints of edge enhancement throughout, this updated, remastered anamorphic DVD transfer is much more rich and varied with its color palette than the previously issued DVD. Film grain is still present but greatly reduced over the previous DVD. Fine details tend to get lost during the darker scenes, but over all, the film elements hold up remarkably well. Blacks are black. Contrast and shadow levels are bang on. The audio has been remastered to 5.1 with impressive results and a natural sounding spread across all five speakers.
EXTRAS: A good documentary on the film's cameraman and a little nothing on Kate Hepburn's career that, unfortunately, shows too little in the way of clips from Hepburn's illustrious film career. Also, the "Loving Through Time" documentary that was far superior to either of these - included on the previously issued DVD - is absent here. It follows the film's development and creation and its popular aftermath far more succinctly than anything featured on this disc. Also, the trailers included on the previous DVD release are not reproduced on this disc.
BOTTOM LINE: My advice is to get both versions of this film on DVD. Though this is clearly the better looking and sounding DVD of the actual film transfer - the other DVD is essential for its extra features content.
5.0 out of 5 stars Drama Packed,
"On Golden Pond" is one of the top 10 best films released in 1981. It won three Oscars: Best Actor(Henry Fonda in his last movie role), Best Actress(Katharine Hepburn, her forth in her career), and Best Director(Mark Rydell). Its unique plot gives it further joy to the audience. Its theme of Norman'(Fonda) anger increasing dramatically because of getting old always has its twists and turns. The emotion is never lost. While Norman tries to reconcile with his estranged daughter, Chelsea, many life changing events occur that keep the audience interested. Such mix of events, plus a few others, are combined wonderfully by the writer. He accomplished a more difficult challenge considering there aren't many characters. The screenplay lives up to the original stage version. The acting is wonderful. Besides the Oscar winning actors who performed brilliantly, Jane Fonda's performance as Chelsea is great. The entire cast add their own emotional value to the dramatic plot. Such movie quality makes "On Golden Pond" highly enjoyable to watch. This will keep many entertained many more years to come.
5.0 out of 5 stars One Genuine Movie Classic!,
I remember with fondness having been booked into a seat next to one of Jane Fonda's production assistants flying back to Boston from Los Angeles early in the 1980s. This was how I learned of the film shooting going on that summer up in rural New Hampshire at Great Squam Lake (the actual setting for the mythical Golden Pond). I really enjoyed having an animated conversation with the young lady, who was obviously very bright and very knowledgeable about various aspects of the movie production, and made sure I was in line to see the new film when it within the following year. Evidently it was rushed through both production and release due to Henry Fonda's failing health and the desire to try to set him up for would certainly be his final attempt to receive the Academy Award that had so long eluded him. After seeing the movie, there was doubt he deserved the award he eventually received for this role of a lifetime.
It was indeed a bravura performance, one that is as quintessentially American as apple pie or the fourth of July, and one that will long endure as both a popular and critical favorite. Fonda played Norman Thayer, last of the great American curmudgeons, to perfection, and did so with such convincing energy and verve as to remove any and all doubt he knew from personal experience of what he spoke. Moreover, Everything about the production is first rate, from the splendid adaptation of the Broadway play to a screenplay to the wonderfully bucolic and even idyllic setting of one of New Hampshire's more scenic and pristine lake areas. The cast is also superb, and I was quite surprised that Katharine Hepburn did not receive an Oscar for her stellar performance as Ethel Thayer, the long suffering but devoted wife to Norman.
Also quite good is young Doug McKeon, playing the young and challenging son of the Thayer's wayward daughter's boyfriend, dumped on the elderly Thayers for the summer so the boyfriend and daughter can escape to France for a much-needed romantic escape. It is the developing relationship between Fonda's character and the young boy that ignites Thayer's compassion and warmth to show the warm and vibrant man lurking underneath that crusty exterior. In this sense, the son becomes the catalyst for Thayer's reconciliation with his daughter, which has been Ethel's most fervent hope for the summer. The movie is, for me at least, sheer magic, and I marvel at the banter and repartee written so intelligently into the script, for such wit and warmth is quite rare in today's films, which so often seem to be constructed around demographic appeal surveys rather than meaningful story lines. This one is a keeper, folks, and one you will want to see again and again. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. Enjoy!
5.0 out of 5 stars Even the loons deserve an Oscar,
This is one fantastic movie. Henry Fonda provided his best in his final movie. The story centers around Norman Thayer's estranged daughter (Played by real life daughter Jane Fonda) who visits her parents at their summer home on Golden Pond. She brings along her Fiance' and his son. The daughter and the boys father leave for Europe, leaving the boy with the older couple. The freinship that developes between the boy and Norman Thayer is teriffic. In an age where movies treat elderly people with contempt, it is good to see that older people can be treated with dignity and respect. Older people tell some fantastic stories (some of them are even true). The friendship developes over Norman and the boy's attempt to catch the fiendish catfish known as Walter. When there is an accident Norman is thrown from the boat. He then clings to a rock calling for his daughter. This especially sd because if you see this movie their relationship is not exactly close. Of course, the boy and Norman are rescued. The daughter and the boys father return from Europe married. At the very end of the movie norman and his daughter begin to patch up their relationship.
This movie is a possitive exzmple of frienship and trust. The boy was rejected by his mother and has to live with his father (Who does love the boy). But because of his mother's rejection he has a lot of anger and resentment. It takes him a while to trust Norman. The entire cast gave a stellar performance. Even the loons deserve an Oscar!
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good!,
On Golden Pond is a great film about family,love, and death.
Henry Fonda plays an aging old man who's losing it, and is afraid of when his death will come. Katherine Hepburn is his wife who is there to set him straight, and comfort him along his way. Jane Fonda is there daughter, who does not get along well with her father, and is bringing her new boyfriend(Dabney Coleman) and his son to Golden Pond. Golden Pond is where there summer house is located, and where the whole story revolves around. When Jane's character arrives with her boyfriend and his son, Henry's character learns the boyfriends son will be living with them, while his father and his girlfriend go away. Here Henry's character learns to become friends with the boy and learn about his ways. For the boy, he enjoys the summer at Golden Pond with the two old folks. Eventually, the father and daughter reconcile. Suddenly the summer is over, and Kate & Henry's characters are ready to leave when a BIG plot Twist comes along. Here is where all of the main themes start to tie in. If you are looking for a good family film with good themes, this is the right one. Hepburn and H. Fonda won Oscars for there roles, respectively. Jane Fonda deserved the Supporting Actress Oscar, as well as the film, which should have won Best Picture.
Also, great Directing by Mark Rydell who deserved Best Director.
Great performances with a solid story line. Grade A
5.0 out of 5 stars No one can replace Henry Fonda's performance!,
Not even could Christopher Plummer who's performance in the live stage version was good, but not as good as Fonda! In his final film which earned him the Academy Award, Henry Fonda plays the retired Prof. Norman Thayer Jr. Thayer and his wife Ethel (wonderfully played by Katherine "the great" Hepburn) decide to have a birthday celebration at the family lake, and hope to reconcile the bond with their daughter Chelsie (Jane Fonda)! What made me like the film so well was obviously Henry Fonda's character as he deals with the fear of turning 80. Just watching Norman go through these obstacles really made me cry because it's so heart-wrenching to have a person you admire go through all of this! He would almost be like the grandfather you really love, and who you would hate to lose without having a relationship with them. In the end, Chelsea and Norman finally rekindle the bond of a father and daughter relationship. One of the finest movies ever made with one of the finest actors of all time.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lions in Winter,
With pursed lips, sparkling eyes, and an old fisherman's cap, Henry Fonda creates an indelible image. Norman Thayer Jr., crusty old English professor, ranks right up there with the best of the great curmudgeons. Regular readers of this space will know of my fondness for curmudgeons; they are my favourite of all character types. Norman ranks right up there with the best of them. Hank does a fine job showing the outer shell of gruffness, while hinting at the affection hiding in Norman's heart. He also does a fine job essaying the slow deterioration of what used to be a lightning fast mind. Norman's big brain is still in there fighting, but can't keep up the same pace that it used to.
Katherine Hepburn (as Ethel Thayer; "Sounds like I'm lisping" says Norman with glee) is more than Hank's match. Her role could have been nothing more than a dowdy housewife, crawling feebly to the end. But Kate gives Ethel such vibrancy and pep (Pep!) that you'd swear she was in her twenties rather than her seventies (she does some nifty high-stepping at one point, while picking berries in a clearing). And her chemistry with Hank is divine. There's one telling scene, after a late-night skinny dip, where the two of them discuss the prospect of their daughter and her boyfriend sleeping in the same bed. There's not a trace of panic in either of their voices, but Kate shows such tangible pragmatism, you're bound to admire her for her progressive thinking alone. These aren't your typical, stuck-in-the-mud senior citizens. These are thoughtful human beings. Close to the end, sure, but hanging on with all the faculties they have.
The scenes with Jane Fonda are flat. Someone must have thought that her real-life tormented relationship with Papa Hank would have carried the day, seeing as it mirrors their characters' relationships in the movie. But she is sappy, sentimental, weak, and seemingly driven by fashion (check out her feathered 'do). She's the kind of women Norman would verbally skewer on first sight. But she's his daughter, so he has to settle for reminding her that she was once his "fat little girl". She's hardly a worthy opponent for the old lion. Dabney Coleman (Billy Ray Sr.), in his one scene of substance, proves that he is. Dressed in a ridiculous powder-blue suit, and sporting a bushy beard to hide his compromised fat face, Dabney's dentist-boyfriend at first comes off as the typical '80s sensitive baby boomer. But he sheds that veneer pretty quickly, earning Norman's respect with a well-placed speech. These two aren't on screen for very long, and really, the story's not about them.
What it *is* about is Norman's relationship with young Billy Ray Jr., played by Doug McKeon. Billy Ray is dumped in the Thayer's laps so that his Pop and prospective stepmom can go giggling around Europe for a month. Typically, young Billy Ray is not happy at the prospect of spending his summer with a couple of rotting octogenarians. But that turns out to be a misconceived perception. Neither Norman nor Ethel flinch at his repeated use of the term ....thus gaining his respect. Norman bullies Billy Ray (or as he lovingly calls him, the "dwarf") into liking and respecting him. Their scenes together, usually fishing for a mythical trout, are cute. Sometimes overly cute, but not enough to ruin things. And for a man on the verge of death, Norman find himself enjoying the joie de vivre that Billy Ray brings to Golden Pond. McKeon does a serviceable job (he's better than Jane, that's for sure), but not great. You can see him trying to be precocious and rebellious all at once. However, he gets credit for never getting trampled by Hank's gargantuan performance, and their chemistry together is fun to watch.
Sure "On Golden Pond" is designed to tug at your heartstrings. But it works emotionally without being manipulative. Even after multiple viewings, I still get choked up when Ethel calls Norman "her knight in shining armour". It's sappy, true, but it still manages to carry a lot of weight.
5.0 out of 5 stars An All-Star Cast for a 5 Star Movie,
On Golden Pond is a movie that speaks about many things: the anger an older person feels at growing old and becoming forgetful, the feelings that can be carried around from childhood, the love between a husband and wife, the connections to be made through age and youth, and reconciliation.
Henry Fonda stars as the aging Norman Thayer. With age, Norman has begun to experience forgetfulness and heart angina. Competent of the fact that he's becoming slower and more forgetful, Norman is can come across as an irritable, jaded, and sarcastic man. This is his defense mechanism to overcome the frustration he's feeling. Norman has a loving wife Ethyl who is patient with him but also isn't afraid to rebuke him when he's out of line.
At the request of their daughter, Norman and Ethyl allow a young boy to stay with them (the boy of their daughter's new boyfriend) for the summer. This turns into an experience where an old and young man connect and develop a friendship that helps Norman. Through their experiences together, Norman gets to see how his actions have begun to affect people and you start to see a different person emerge.
The story is dramatic, powerful, touching, and beautiful. Movies like this are indeed rare and should be treasured. It's great that this is finally available on DVD. The clarity is excellent as well as the sound. Buy this movie, and remind yourself of some of the wonderful things in life---and don't hold back the tears....it's pointless.
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and Magnificent,
I've seen On Golden Pond at least thirty times since its release and never get tired of it. Henry Fonda is brilliant as the crabby Norman Thayer and he shines in his last screen performance. His interplay with Katharine Hepburn reminds one of the rare chemistry she enjoyed with Spencer Tracy in all the magical movies they made together. Everything Fonda says in this movie is real and believable, you'll never catch him overacting or playing one false note. It would be difficult to imagine anyone else in this role.
Fonda's scenes with daughter Jane are particularly moving considering their strained real life relationship. Their last embrace at the conclusion of the film will tug at your heart strings. It's a poignant and wistful look at growing old and facing death, two unpleasant but unavoidable subjects. Fonda and Hepburn are literally perfect in this film, which is also enhanced by a beautiful, haunting soundtrack. This is a film you can watch again and again and never weary of it.
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On Golden Pond (Special Edition) by Katherine Hepburn (DVD - 2007)
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