Dozens, The (1981)

Dozens, The (1981)

“I’m not out to get you; only you can get yourself back.”

A young woman (Deborah Margolies) returning home after a stint in prison struggles to reconnect with her daughter (Jessica Hergert) and estranged husband (Edward Mason) while scraping together a living.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Ex-Cons
  • Feminism and Women’s Issues
  • Survival

The Dozens holds the distinction of being one of the most challenging titles in Peary’s GFTFF to get ahold of. An ultra-low-budget indie film shot in Boston, it was released the same year as another Boston-based indie included in Peary’s book — The Dark End of the Street (1981) — leading one to presume Peary saw them both at some sort of festival, and they made enough of an impression for him to want to recommend them. However, while Dark End… remains a gritty hidden treat (and is worth seeking out), The Dozens comes across as merely a fragmented attempt at what could have been a much more absorbing character study. Margolies is refreshingly feisty and memorable in the lead role, but the narrative gives her far too little to work with: we see her struggling to find her way in life post-prison, but there’s nothing particularly revelatory about her experiences. As Janet Maslin wrote in her cautiously positive review of the film for the NY Times, “Its drama unfolds with more frankness than insight”.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Deborah Margolies as Sally
  • Fine use of gritty Boston environs

Must See?
No; you don’t need to bother seeking this one out.


One thought on “Dozens, The (1981)

  1. First viewing – not must-see, not at all.

    This is yet another one of those ‘eccentric’ choices for inclusion in this book. One would think that, if the decision is made to include a very low-budget flick that is nearly impossible to locate, there would be an understandable reason – any reason – for adding it as something to consider.

    But there’s really no reason to seek this out. Not that it’s awful or boring – just that there’s little to distinguish it.

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