Mourning Becomes Electra

Synopsis: Eugene O'Neill's updated version of the Orestaia. In New England, after the American Civil War, a war-weary Agamem--er, Ezra Mannon comes home to his unhappy wife (Christine) and loving daughter (Lavinia). But Lavinia's ex-suitor, Adam Brant, has become Christine's lover, and together Adam and Christine plot to poison Ezra. When they succeed, Lavinia turns to her brother Orin to help bring the lovers to justice, but when they succeed, Orin goes mad and his suicide note may come between Lavinia and her new suitor, Peter Niles.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Dudley Nichols
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins.
121 min

Oh, Seth. Hey, Seth.

Heard the news, Seth?

General Grant's called on Lee

to surrender.

'T ain't official yet.

By Jingos Amos, if that news is true,

there won't be a sober man in town


It's our patriotic duty to celebrate.

My sakes, what a purty house.

Ayeh, t'aint everyone gets to see

the Mannon place close to.

Anyone at home?


No. Mrs Mannon is in New York.

Miss Lavinia is a'visiting with

Hazel and Peter Niles.

I think you must be wrong

about Miss Vinnie.

Peter Niles and his sister've been

away somewheres.

Just got back.

Yeah, we just seen them get off

the train.

Lavinia wan't with 'em?


Maybe she's off gallivantin' with that

Captain Brant.

That's his ship down the harbor.

The pretty clipper. The Flying Trades.

Folks say he's been calling here.

Haunting someone.

Folks say more than their prayers.

My, I've never seen such a purty house.

Cost him money.

I can remember when old late Mannon,

he's been dead these twenty years,

tore down the old Mannon house

and built this place.

My, they must be rich.

Ayeh. Mannon's been top dog around here

for nigh on to 200 years.

And don't let folks forget it neither.

What's it like inside?

We never seen the inside,

me and Louisa.

Not many folks in town has.

Couldn't you give us just a peek,

Mr Beckwith?

No. The Mannons are strict

about trespassing.

There's a gallon of liquor in it for you.


if you promise not to say nothing

to nobody about it.

This is Ezra Mannon's study.

Ezra's the general, ain't he?

Yep, the best darn fighter

in the whole of Grant's army.

That's him up there.

He looks like a judge.

He was a judge.

How did he come to join the army?

He was a soldier when he was young.

In the Mexican War.

Come out a Major.

His Pa, Abe Mannon, died that year

Ezra quit the army and took a hold

of the Mannon shipping business,

learned Law on the side and

got made a judge.

He was Mayor of the town when

this war broke out.

Ayeh. But he resigned to once

and joined the army again.

And now he's riz to be General.

Oh, he's able, Ezra is.

Yeah, this town is real proud of Ezra.

Which is more than we can say

for his wife.

We ain't talking about her.

I'll see if I can find the key

to the second room.

Don't rile him, Louisa.

Oh, he's so proud

of these durned ol' Mannons.

I couldn't help giving him a dig

about Ezra's wife.

He's starting to act like the Mannons,

high and mighty.

Looks lke him too,

from being with 'em all his life.

Everyone in town knows that Mannon look.

Ayeh, they even growed it on their wives.

Like a mask they put on.

They don't want folks to guess

their secrets.


Oh, the Mannons have skeletons

in their closets same as others.

Only worse ones.

When I was a young one

the whole town was talking about

the scandal

David Mannon made with that

French nurse girl

who worked for Ezra's Pa.

He finally had to marry her.

And Abe Mannon kicked him out.

It was after that that Abe

built this house.

He built it out of pure hate.

Hate for his own flesh and blood...


My, ain't it purty?

How'd they make their money?


His ships was flying the Mannon flag

way back in colonial times.

Now, his Pa here...

His Pa was quite a power in his days.

Preached the Gospel in Salem

where they burned the witches.

I heard tell there weren't no one knowed more

about hell, fire and damnation

than he did.


here's Abe Mannon.

That's Ezra's Pa.

He built this house.

He started one of the world's first

Western ocean packet lines.

Made a pile of money.

Who's he?

That's Abe's Pa.

Ezra'a grandpa.

He was an officer in General Washington's


Seth, ain't there one of the Mannons


Abe had a brother, didn't he?

Yes, David Mannon.

Where's he?

He went West.

Died out there, you see?

I'll show you out now.

Oh, look, Minnie.

There's a picture of Ezra's wife.

That's Abe's wife.

Oh, no, I mean this one.

My, she's awful handsome, ain't she?

Mmm, too foreign looking

for my taste.

That's their children, Lavinia and Orin.

Must have been took before he went off

to join his father at the front.

See here, now.

I got to get back to work.

Here's Peter Niles and his sister Hazel.

My, she's pretty, ain't she?

I guess Orin thinks so.

But Peter, he's in love with Miss Vinnie.

Ain't they engaged, Seth?

Or has he got a rival in that Captain Brant

who's been calling here?

I'll show you out now.

Darned old gossip monger.

All that cheap gab about David.

I'll bet news about the war being over

is true.

Ezra better get back here.

There's something queer going on.

Folks are gossiping about

that Captain Grant calling here.

That's his ship down in the harbor.

But he ain't on board.

They say he lives in New York.

But where's Vinnie?

She told her Ma that she went to visit

Hazel and Peter Niles, but she lied.

T'aint like Vinnie to lie.

Next time you come to New York

you'll bring Lavinia, won't you?

Yes, Papa.

Au revoir, Papa.

Lots of excitement in town tonight, Ma'am.

Folks are celebrating the victory.

They'd do better to wait.

The news isn't confirmed yet.

You didn't tell me Lavinia was home.

I didn't see her come in.



Vinnie. Answer me, please.

Is anything wrong?

I have a headache.

I'm in bed.

Good afternoon, Mrs Mannon.

Why, Peter.

Hazel, how are you, my dear?

Hello, Mrs Mannon.

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Eugene O'Neill

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill (October 16, 1888 – November 27, 1953) was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature. His poetically titled plays were among the first to introduce into U.S. drama techniques of realism earlier associated with Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, and Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The drama Long Day's Journey into Night is often numbered on the short list of the finest U.S. plays in the 20th century, alongside Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.O'Neill's plays were among the first to include speeches in American English vernacular and involve characters on the fringes of society. They struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations, but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair. Of his very few comedies, only one is well-known (Ah, Wilderness!). Nearly all of his other plays involve some degree of tragedy and personal pessimism. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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