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Summer & Smoke (1961)

1 rating: 5.0
A movie directed by Peter Glenville
1 review about Summer & Smoke (1961)

Finally on DVD

  • Jul 30, 2010
"Summer & Smoke"
Finally on DVD
Amos Lassen

Being a big fan of Tennessee Williams, I have often wondered why "Summer and Smoke" is one of the few movies of his plays that has not been released on DVD. That is taken care of now and it is finally available and if for no other reason, it is worth seeing for the bravura performance of Geraldine Page. I can say a lot about this movie but the most important is
the performance of Geraldine Page, perhaps one of the finest female performances ever captured on film. Everything about her is perfect-- her use of her hands, a glance...every nuance imaginable yet to be matched (a Her Alma is a lot more complicated than most realize, and we see repressed rage, hopeless love, dependence on drugs. English director Peter Glenville, directed her and Laurence Harvey and it was actually a fine group of talent. Williams considered this was his best play; he re-wrote it as "Eccentricities of a Nightingale", but the new idea, though admired, and never survived. But with the mood and delivery of Glenville, and the unflinching perfection of Page's performance this play sings. It is Williams's most poetic play and is a showcase for both his words and Geraldine Page's Oscar-nominated performance. Page is a spinster and she deals with spirituality vs. carnality. She is attracted her childhood neighbor, a wild libertine. Williams was a genius and producer Hal Wallis has assembled some great artists for this film. This is Geraldine Page's great performance and it has been noted so. The film allows close-ups and the viewer can drink all the emotions of the characters, something that cannot be done on the stage. Looking even closer one must not leave out the performance of Laurence Harvey as doctor John Buchanan. His detachments hold a stark contrast for the rest of the characters in the film which is a vital element for Alma in this tragic riddle. Elmer Bernstein's score frames the film with a melancholy air and the movie is wonderful throughout.

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