- Number of Discs: 2
- Rated: Unrated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 19 minutes
- Video: Black & White / Color
- Released: June 19, 2012
- Originally Released: 1996
- Label: Criterion
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Note: New interviews with Soderbergh and monologue cowriter Renée Shafransky
- Swimming to the Macula, sixteen minutes of footage from Spalding Gray's actual eye surgery
- A personal history of the American Theater, a ninety five-minute momolgue by Gray, originally produced by the Wooster Group in 1980 and videotaped in 1982
- Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Amy Taubin
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Variety - 09/16/1996
"...Lots of visual inventiveness....[Gray] is very much on top of his game delivering the piece..."
Los Angeles Times - 05/09/1997
"...Motion, color and brazen stylizing enhance what is at times a genuinely hysterical work on rationalized terror..."
Acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh films Spalding Gray's monologue--originally written for the stage--with an energy that makes for an intriguing cinematic viewing experience. Opening with a succession of black-and-white interviews that details horrific incidents dealing with human eyeballs, Gray's topic of discussion becomes readily apparent. Eventually, Gray admits that he himself experienced a near-traumatic episode when one of his eyes became blurry and unfocused. Terrified at the thought of surgery--which would have involved scraping his eyeball--Gray decided to search for another way to rid himself of his unfortunate condition. In a series of hysterical tales, Gray describes his attempts to find a nonsurgical cure for his affliction. These include calling a Christian Science hot line, flying to the Philippines to meet with a psychic surgeon, and traveling to Minnesota to partake in a Native American ceremony that aims to sweat the problem out of him. When Gray realizes that these approaches aren't working, he must finally decide whether to place himself under the knife and risk losing his eye. As usual, Soderbergh's keen vision adds a spark to the proceedings. His roaming camera emphasizes the dialogue in a way that the stage could never do, allowing Gray to do his thing and keep the laughs rolling.
Sardonic monologist Spalding Gray (MONSTER IN A BOX, SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA) wittily discusses the psychological implications of his rare eye ailment, including his personal thoughts on death and fear of bodily decay, as well as his pursuits of alternative remedies such as Christian Science, Native American Sweat Ceremonies, and a visit to a Philippine psychic surgeon. Steven Soderbergh craftily adapts Gray's stage show, incorporating interviews with random individuals to separate the one-man performance.
- Theatrical release: March 19, 1997.
- The original stage production was directed by Renee Shafransky and was developed with the support of the Scottsdale Cultural Council (Scottsdale, Arizona).
- Interviewees featured in the film include: Mike McLaughlin, Melissa Robertson, Alvin Henry, Alyne Hargroder, Buddy Car, Gerry Urso, Chris Simms, Tommy Staub, Fay L. Woo, M.D., and Kirk A. Payrick Jr., M.D.
- GRAY'S ANATOMY is a production of the Independent Film Channel in association with BBC Films.