Blu-ray Review: The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds

The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Paul Zindel. The movie was directed by Paul Newman from a screenplay by Alvin Sargent and stars Joanne Woodward, Nell Potts, Roberta Wallach, Judith Lowry, David Spielberg and Richard Venture. The scire is by Maurice Jarre.

Director Paul Newman and screenwriter Alvin Sargent bring Paul Zindel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, to the screen in this 1972 adaptation starring Joanne Woodward as a struggling working-class widow, the disturbed mother of two girls. Oldest daughter Ruth (Roberta Wallach) is a rebellious adolescent, already in trouble; younger child Matilda (Nell Potts, daughter of Newman and Woodward) may still have a chance, like some of the flowers in her school science project, which lends the film its title.

The movie follows Beatrice (Joanne Woodward), a widowed single mother who has gone through so much bad stuff in her life that it’s left her a negative recluse and a shell of what she used to be. She talks of doing something big and positive but never can follow through on her dreams and aspirations because of the overwhelming depression that has taken over her life. Needless to say, nothing goes right for this woman. Her two daughters, Ruth (Roberta Wallach) and Matilda (Nell Potts), are embarrassed of their mother but make the best out of what they have to work with. The older daughter Ruth has a rebellious nature to her and it appears that she’s headed down the same depressing road that her mother took, while the younger Matilda is actually the glue that holds this unbalanced trio together and shows signs of genius as well as hope.

Paul Newman directed this psychological drama and ended up casting his wife Joanne Woodward as well as their daughter Nell Potts, in two of the lead roles. The movie plays like a depression-era drama even though it’s not set in that time because it’s got the 70’s vibe all over it. We all come from dysfunctional families in one way or another and The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds simply gives a great example of how one of these dysfunctional families of ours could possibly look like. Newman does a great job capturing these intense and emotional performances by the talented cast with the three female leads being the heart and soul of this film. Even though there’s not much happiness in this family, the youngest daughter shows signs of hope and that she won’t repeat the steps her mother has taken. And yes, the marigolds do play an important part of the story.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds ended up being an extremely depressing psychological drama that takes the viewer inside the walls of his deteriorating houehold that’s occupied by this widowed mother and her two daughters. The story was interesting and a lot of families out there will be able to relate to these flawed characters. Paul Newman did a fantastic job capturing the intensity and gloomy nature of this dysfunctional family that consists of three women who are complete opposites from one another. The mother has been left broken and shows no sign of being able to live a normal life, while her oldest daughter isn’t as bad even though she has a rebellious nature, and the youngest daughter is the ray of hope this family so desperately needs. All in all, I really enjoyed this 1972 drama that ended up being such an interesting character study that features some stellar performances by the three female leads. The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 101 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (2.0 on some players)

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include Twilight Time’s isolated music and effects track and the original theatrical trailer.

  • Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (2:30)


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