Joseph L. Mankiewicz directs Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn in this gothic drama where a rich matriarch is financially encouraging an asylum to give her niece a lobotomy after she was a party to her mysterious son’s death.
Fascinating – in that you have three very different movie stars jumping through quite difficult hoops. Taylor is pure sex as the condemned young lady, she smashes the third act monologue, her face superimposed over surrealist flashbacks of her enigmatic cousin’s last days. Clift is battling with his real life trauma and addiction, noticeably a bit shaky but holding it together. Hepburn makes easy snacking of Tennessee William’s florid dialogue, though her moments do feel the most stagiest. It is definitely a story that get better as it goes along and one of the first to acknowledge homosexuality even if Mankiewicz is never permitted to be frank and explicit. The best moments are the most overwrought; Liz dangling above a lecherous ward of salivating and horny nuts, Liz begrudgingly splashing around in a revealing swimsuit for a baying crowd of salivating and horny locals.
Perfect Double Bill: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958)
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