Long, slow, New Orleans-in-the-thirties talkfest filled with hystrionics and over-acting. Hepburn is excellent, playing a Southern grande dame with a decidedly New England accent, Taylor is gorgeous (complete with full makeup, tight dresses, and stilettos while incarcerated) but shreiks a lot, while Clift appears catatonic and bug-eyed throughout. McCambridge minces about with a silly, shrill drawl and looks ridiculous.
The whole point of the movie is summed up in one sentence, but it takes 113 minutes to do it.
If you like Tennessee Williams' long-winded speeches, you'll love this movie. I didn't.
SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER is one of the strongest Tennessee Williams film adaptations, and that is due in no small part to Gore Vidal's fiery screenplay and the first-rate main players of Taylor, Hepburn and Clift. The story opens in 1937. Eccentric and wealthy Southern widow Mrs Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn) enlists the services of prolific mental health surgeon Dr. Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift). Cukrowicz specialises in performing the revolutionary frontal lobotomy procedure … more
Tennessee Williams SOUTHERN GOTH masterpiece a la dark black and white Hollywood film style with Joseph (All About Eve, Guys & Dolls) Mankiewicz at the director's helm and screenplay adapted by Gore Vidal. Elizabeth Taylor plays beautiful and crazy Cathy and Mercedes McCambridge (the actress who provided the voice of the demon in The Exorcist) plays her protective mother. Katherine Hepburn is Auntie Venable and wants niece Cathy to have a lobotomy to help her forget what she … more
This black-and-white film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's Southern gothic play is perhaps more famous for the rumored off-screen shenanigans of its stars than for its over-the-top repressed sexuality (only Williams could pull off that paradox, and pull it off he does). Supposedly, stars Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor battled for screen time; Hepburn warred very publicly with director Joseph Mankiewicz; and a postaccident Montgomery Clift relied heavily on painkillers and support from friend Taylor during the grueling shoot. Even this, however, cannot top the events of the film itself, revolving around the unseen playboy Sebastian and his mysterious death, which has something to do with young boys, a decadent European vacation, and Taylor in a provocative wet, white bathing suit. To give away the plot would spoil the fun, but suffice it to say that what Taylor saw was so horrible it drove her nuts, and Sebastian's mother (Hepburn) wants her to have a lobotomy in order to keep it from coming out; Clift is brought in to do the procedure. It's all a hoot and a holler, but as played by the two leading ladies (both of whom nabbed Oscar nominations), it's also compelling, chilling, and utterly gothic. Taylor gives a fierce performance, as the climaxing monologue that reveals Sebastian's "secret" rests entirely on her shoulders, and Hepburn plays brilliantly against type as Sebastian's manipulating, overbearing mother. Only Clift, saddled with a dreary character in charge ...