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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Deluxe Edition) (1958)

7 Ratings: 4.1
Classics and Drama movie directed by Richard Brooks

Elizabeth Taylor has never been sexier than as Tennessee Williams's hot-blooded Maggie "The Cat" Pollitt, prowling around her boudoir in a slinky white slip. That's how you know her alcoholic, ex-football-player husband, Brick (Paul Newman), … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Richard Brooks
1 review about Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Deluxe Edition) (1958)

"We occupy the same cage, that's all."

  • Jul 22, 2006
Rating:
+5
Though Elia Kazan's A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE ranks as the greatest screen adaptation of Tennesee Williams' plays, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF follows closely behind. Like STREETCAR, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF is filled with tension, much of which arouses from the harrowing confrontations between Brick (Paul Newman) and Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor). Brick, once a great football player, is now an alcoholic. He hangs around in his room at his family's home, refusing wife Maggie's consolation and pleas for Brick to love her again. Brick believes that Maggie slept with Brick's best friend; when she tries to bring up the subject, Brick will hear nothing of it. When Brick is reunited with his father, Big Daddy (Burl Ives), who is dying of cancer, he finds himself forced to confront the truths of his life while forcing his father to confront the truths of his.

As I haven't read the original stageplay, I can't vouch for this adaptation's faithfulness to the source material. I know that Williams himself despised this adaptation to the point of urging audiences not to see it. Despite that, Richard Brooks' CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF has gone on to become a classic, thanks largely to outstanding performances from Newman, Taylor, and Ives. Despite Newman's cruel attitude toward Taylor, we never really think of him a jerk, perhaps because the film makes the point very early on of showing that there's still good within him after Newman's arms automatically rise up to hold Taylor before his rage takes hold of him once more. Taylor looks more beautiful than anyone in cinematic history. Ives' gruff performance as "Big Daddy" is delightful, particularly toward the end of the film. All in all, the cast is terrific.

Due to a musicians' union strike, there is no original score in the film, only a few bits of library music. The strike turned out to be a good thing, as the lack of music makes the more tense scenes even more powerful. The director, Richard Brooks, does a spectacular job, comparable even to Elia Kazan's superb work on his adaptation of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. To top it all off there's excellent color cinematography by William Daniels and taut editing by Ferris Webster.

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF is another stellar Tennesee Williams adaptation and one of the finest and most tense dramas in movie history. If you consider yourself a movie buff it's essential viewing, and even if you're not I would highly recommend it.

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