ASBURY PARK, NJ - On Saturday afternoon, November 26, the historic Stephen Crane House, 508 Fourth Avenue in Asbury Park, offers up its annual birth-month salute to Stephen Crane himself...with a free screening of a rarely seen adaptation of one of the author's most highly regarded short stories: the 1959 film "Face of Fire."
Based on Crane's story "The Monster;" produced and directed in Sweden by Albert Band (the prolific filmmaker who adapted Crane's "Red Badge of Courage" for John Huston), the stark and modestly budgeted indie production presents a largely downbeat view on life in a close-knit rural community...and the sorts of fears and prejudices that turn neighbors against one another. In the process, it takes some significant departures from the original text...but it also gains an impressive performance by the always-worth-watching James Whitmore, as a kind-hearted laborer who finds himself shunned by his neighbors when an act of heroism results in his being horribly scarred, both physically and mentally.
photo: James Whitmore
Cameron Mitchell co-stars as a sympathetic doctor, with supporting turns by familiar character players Royal Dano and Lois (007's Miss Moneypenny) Maxwell.
The free film screening of "Face of Fire" will be accompanied by a special presentation on our young Mr. Crane and the house he lived in, part of a research project into the history of the 1878 home once known as Arbutus Cottage.
Doors open at 2:30 p.m. for the 3 p.m. program, with attendees invited to partake of birthday cake (and other complimentary refreshments) in honor of Stephen. Take a break from the hectic holidays and other timely tensions; help celebrate the life and legacy of one of Asbury Park's greatest gifts to American culture...and feel free to bring a new (unwrapped) toy for the annual Asbury Park Toy Drive (donations by cash or check are also accepted on behalf of our friends at the Asbury Park Little League and A.P. Historical Society).