THE GRASS ARENA (1992) Mark Rylance, Pete Postlethwaite


THE GRASS ARENA (1992) Screen Two, Season 8, Episode 1

Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Writers: Frank Deasy, John Healy (autobiography)
Stars:Mark Rylance, Pete Postlethwaite and Lynsey Baxter

Note: never released on video or dvd.

The Grass Arena' is an excellent book and a remarkable film. Mark Rylance, of the Royal Shakespeare Company, is outstanding as John Healy.

What makes the film especially moving is that it shows true faith in the human potential. John Healy though living right to the point of utter destitution as a drunken vagrant finds salvation through chess. When he attempts to enter the elite world of chess masters his background is used against him. The pomposity of this narrow minded prejudice is well exposed in the film.

Unlike the film the book ends with John Healy trying to find solace through Buddhism and travelling to India. What is sad in both endings is that John's brutalisation, stretching from his father's boxing lessons to the alcoholism of the grass arena, make it very difficult for him to get close with women he is attracted to. A wonderful film and a great story.

Format: NTSC on DVD-R
Region code: multi-region '0'(free) so will play worldwide including PAL Region 2 or 4.
Source: tv recording later transferred to dvd.
Quality: 7/10 (video quality)
Runtime: 90 minutes
Presentation: full size dvd case with case cover and printed disc