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Film adaptations of Tennessee Williams plays

I watched Summer and Smoke last night and quite enjoyed it. Laurence Harvey made a dashing hedonistic doctor and Geraldine Page was moving as the prim minister’s daughter in love with him.

There are several films I haven’t seen yet but want to: The Rose Tattoo, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Night of the Iguana.

Is A Streetcar Named Desire the obvious masterpiece among the adaptations? How close is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?

by Anonymousreply 302November 24, 2023 2:46 AM

Love Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - despite the horrible southern accents by the 2 leads. Just saw Period of Adjustment - horrible, 18 yo Jane Fonda and Tim Huttons dad. Mediocre screenplay - stripping the gay stuff - horribly acted. Streetcar is still the best film of his.

by Anonymousreply 1February 20, 2023 2:33 AM

I need to see Suddenly, Last Summer again.

by Anonymousreply 2February 20, 2023 3:18 AM

"Suddenly, Last Summer" has one of my favorite screen entrances—Hepburn in her little fancy elevator.

Also, one of my favorite line readings, also courtesy of Hepburn—each day more DEBree, more DEBree, long, long trails of DEBree...

by Anonymousreply 3February 20, 2023 3:26 AM

If you liked Geraldine Page in this, you will love her in Sweet Bird of Youth.

by Anonymousreply 4February 20, 2023 3:27 AM

I love “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” — Big Momma patting the brass bed:”When a marrriage is on the rocks, the rocks are there — right there!” Williams compromised on making Brick gay for his play, director Elia Kazan convinced him the play would be more commercial if Brick and Maggie got together at the end, however temporarily. Williams desperately wanted another Broadway hit —which it was — but he retroactively became furious at Kazan for diluting his play. The gay stuff was further diluted for the film due to censorship, but enough hinting is left for one to imagine that Brick will get Maggie pregnant, then start picking up guys in Men’s Rooms.

“The Rose Tattoo” isn’t so hot, though it’s years since I’ve seen it.

“The Night of the Iguana” is not one of his best plays, but the movie is very good and well acted across the board.

by Anonymousreply 5February 20, 2023 3:36 AM

Not crazy about "Cat"... I just don't believe Liz and Paul are not fucking like rabbits. Plus, that movie is just talk talk talk to death.

"Streetcar" is really the only one, although I do love "The Glass Menagerie" with Hepburn and Michael Moriarty.

I like "Suddenly Last Summer" for Hepburn. But Liz is just not a good actress, certainly over-parted here. It needed Joanne Woodward (as did Cat).

by Anonymousreply 6February 20, 2023 3:44 AM

"Streetcar" is great, except they change the play's ending.

"Suddenly Last Summer" is the most fun because it's so insane.

"Boom!" (based on "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Any More") is also very funny and over-the-top, but it gets very very tedious.

by Anonymousreply 7February 20, 2023 3:48 AM

I loved "Night of the Iguana"

Maybe I'm misremembering but I think Elizabeth Taylor was on location with them and played poker with Tennessee Williams himself and husband Richard Burton and some of the other cast.

by Anonymousreply 8February 20, 2023 3:51 AM

CoaHTR is good but it has very little to do with the actual play. TW loathed it because of that, allthough the most egregious of his white washed adaptions will always the 1950's Glass Menagerie with Jane Wyman.

I watched The Rose Tattoo recently and other than Magnani's performance, it's forgettable, but I'd have to read the og play.

Streetcar is still the best adaption, according to Ten himself, despite it also having been messed with by the censors. I always thought the ending was very cleverly done, showing one thing but implying the other quite obviously.

by Anonymousreply 9February 20, 2023 3:57 AM

The Rose Tattoo is overlooked. It’s really something. Magnani is fantastic and balances out Lancaster’s too-much portrayal. Don’t miss it.

by Anonymousreply 10February 20, 2023 3:57 AM

"Suddenly" never appealed to me, it seems to heavy handed even for Tennessee.....a gay man using his hot female cousin as bait, cannibals, lobotomies...too gothic, not enough southern.

by Anonymousreply 11February 20, 2023 4:05 AM

Well, the cannibalism is quite a lot, but that's a metaphor.

Remember that Tennessee had by that time himself used hot women as bait at Mediterranean resort beaches, and had himself experienced someone in his own family having a lobotomy.

As for not enough Southern: the part of Violet Venable was meant to be played by a woman using a Southern accent (since she's a New Orleans millionairess), but Hepburn would not manage one.

by Anonymousreply 12February 20, 2023 4:09 AM

Interesting take, R6, but though Joanne Woodward was a good actress, she was also a very dull one and completely devoid of sex appeal. Despite co-starring with Paul Newman repeatedly in the early ‘60s, she never became a star. And though Taylor and Newman are both beautiful, I don’t think they had chemistry together at all. In fact Newman was always a cold screen presence and never convincingly seems passionate about any of his co-stars, including his wife.

by Anonymousreply 13February 20, 2023 4:12 AM

Newman's onscreen chemistry was only ever genuine with men: Robert Redford and Tom Cruise.

Make of that what you will.

by Anonymousreply 14February 20, 2023 4:15 AM

I thought Newman had chemistry with Woodward in the Tennessee William knock off "The long hot summer"

by Anonymousreply 15February 20, 2023 4:16 AM

Was Newman intended as a less temperamental/sane version of Brando? Concur with R13 that Newman lacks chemistry onscreen with other actors including Woodward, whereas Brando has crazy chemistry with... pretty much everyone. LOL

by Anonymousreply 16February 20, 2023 4:46 AM

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a terrible adaptation, what the fuck are you all smoking? It removes the central conflict of the play - Brick is a closeted gay man who cannot come to terms with himself. Williams despised it, and he was right to do so.

by Anonymousreply 17February 20, 2023 5:00 AM

[quote]the part of Violet Venable was meant to be played by a woman using a Southern accent (since she's a New Orleans millionairess), but Hepburn would not manage one

Maggie tries, r12...

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by Anonymousreply 18February 20, 2023 5:01 AM

Streetcar Named Desire, Baby Doll, Suddenly Last Summer, and Night of the Iguana are all excellent movies.

Sweet Bird and Fugitive Kind are very solid.

Summer and Smoke is dull but fine.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is awful, as are all of The Glass Menagerie films. How has there not been a single good adaptation of his most accessible play?

Haven't seen The Rose Tattoo or Period of Adjustment.

by Anonymousreply 19February 20, 2023 5:04 AM

R8, Yes, Taylor accompanied Burton on location in Puerto Vallarta before Puerto Vallarta was a thing.

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by Anonymousreply 20February 20, 2023 5:12 AM

"Night of the Iguana" doesn't have any plot. I've completely forgotten what happened in the end.

Margaret Leighton was, of course, brilliant and deserved her Tony Award as Best Actress in the New York production. But Deborah Kerr diluted the role down to mere sighs and whispers and came across as tedious in the film version.

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by Anonymousreply 21February 20, 2023 5:19 AM

[quote] The Rose Tattoo … Magnani is fantastic and balances out Lancaster’s too-much portrayal.

Lancaster is incapable of playing normal human beings.

I just get the feeling he wants to jump off the screen into the cinema audience and assault us with his preening narcissism.

"You! In the front stalls. Just walk right up and feel my biceps!"

by Anonymousreply 22February 20, 2023 5:26 AM

There is that funny scene though when Lancaster chases the goat. But he's pretty terrible for the rest of the movie.

by Anonymousreply 23February 20, 2023 6:23 AM

Most of the films of his plays are bowdlerized to some extent, but I think Sweet Bird of Youth (despite also suffering from this) gets closest to the mark, and Geraldine Page is a hoot. This is surely a minority dissent, but I've never cared for the famous film of Streetcar. Kazan was a much greater theater director than a filmmaker, and I don't like Leigh's performance.

by Anonymousreply 24February 20, 2023 8:00 AM

R17: But the original Broadway version of the play avoided what you call the “central conflict” of the play, and Williams went along with it. There was plenty of good drama and compelling family conflict despite that, and the play was a hit, as was the film, which is still very watchable and enjoyable as drama. Williams didn’t do a version that restored his original vision until much later.

R14: With all the Newman/Woodward revisionism going on about their parents, it’s not surprising that with the authority his three daughters have over his image, there isn’t a whisper of Newman’s very active bisexual affairs. He certainly loved Joanne but it didn’t keep him from having sex with any man or women that struck his fancy. He was certainly very actively fucking men at the beginning of his career on Broadway. And there have been lesbian rumors about Woodward too.

The reviews of Newman’s just-published autobiogrphy, which was pieced together with hours of tapes he left behind, frankly make him seem like a sociopath. Throughout his life he complained of not being able to feel emotion about or towards anyone, so it’s no surprise he was such a cold , calculating actor. Some think he only learned to act (and to feel) near the end of his career.

by Anonymousreply 25February 20, 2023 5:31 PM

Many actors are sociopaths. They're fascinated by acting because they want to learn more about how to feign emotions towards other people.

by Anonymousreply 26February 20, 2023 7:12 PM

I read his memoir, and didn't think he came across even remotely as a sociopath. He had a terrible childhood, and, like many people, struggled with alcohol and relationships throughout his adult life, but he clearly loved his family and friends.

by Anonymousreply 27February 20, 2023 8:54 PM

[quote] He was certainly very actively fucking men at the beginning of his career on Broadway

R29 I assume you're going to justify this extraordinary undocumented claim by telling us that you were watching through the keyhole 70 years ago..

by Anonymousreply 28February 20, 2023 8:57 PM

I also liked The Eccentricities of a Nightingale with Blythe Danner.

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by Anonymousreply 29February 20, 2023 9:59 PM

"They ate him ah-laaahve!"

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by Anonymousreply 30February 20, 2023 10:07 PM

I watched Summer and Smoke for Page’s performance, and Harvey’s, too. Page, in Sweet Bird of Youth and Summer and Smoke, is pretty amazing. Something about her voice and her expressive face is so compelling.

Summer and Smoke also has a small but really cool part for Una Merkel. She was another interesting actress, with a pretty sad life.

by Anonymousreply 31February 20, 2023 10:07 PM

Suddenly Last a summer is worth watching for Mercedes McCambridge as the sweet, greedy Grace Holly.

by Anonymousreply 32February 20, 2023 10:12 PM

The only good thing about the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof film is little Larry Mondale running around screaming, "Here's comes that birthday party".

Oh, and H.B. Lewis playing a doctor.

by Anonymousreply 33February 20, 2023 10:15 PM


[quote]On March 5, 1945, Merkel was nearly killed when her mother Bessie, with whom she shared an apartment in New York City, died by suicide by gassing herself. Merkel was overcome by the five gas jets her mother had turned on in their kitchen and was found unconscious in her bedroom.

[quote]On March 4, 1952, seven years almost to the day after her mother died, Merkel overdosed on sleeping pills. She was found unconscious by a nurse who was caring for her at the time and remained in a coma for a day before recovering.

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by Anonymousreply 34February 20, 2023 10:17 PM

What is it that Big Daddy always says?

Oh yes, "Get the hook - go fuck yourself"

by Anonymousreply 35February 20, 2023 10:17 PM

I watched Night of the Iguana for Grayson Hall

by Anonymousreply 36February 20, 2023 10:20 PM

Summer and Smoke has an over-the-top camp performance by DL villain Rita Moreno that makes Geraldine Page seem like a model of restraint and subtlety.

by Anonymousreply 37February 20, 2023 10:33 PM

R36 Would you believe John Huston had to coax that performance out of Grayson Hall? I read in a really cool little book called A Stolen Paradise that Hall was intimidated by the cast. She was so great in that film, just perfect.

by Anonymousreply 38February 20, 2023 10:41 PM


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by Anonymousreply 39February 20, 2023 10:47 PM

R17 Agreed and it's overproduced as well. All the actors are at such a high pitch that they cancel each other out and when it's over you may wonder what all that shouting was about.

by Anonymousreply 40February 20, 2023 10:48 PM

Orpheus Descending

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by Anonymousreply 41February 20, 2023 10:50 PM

What was the name of that film with Chris Evans and Ann-Margret again? That one was feckin terrible.

by Anonymousreply 42February 20, 2023 11:00 PM

Streetcar and Night of the Iguana are my favorite film adaptations.

by Anonymousreply 43February 21, 2023 12:50 AM

I don't like Night of the Iguana as a play so I've never seen the movie. I did see the Roundabout production with William Petersen, Cherry Jones and Marsha Mason.

by Anonymousreply 44February 21, 2023 12:55 AM

I want to hate Cat because it was censored and whitewashed and has little to do with the play, but I do think the film has some great momebts, particularly Big Daddy's speech to Brick in the end:

You're a thirty-year-old kid. Soon you'll be a fifty-year-old kid. Pretendin' you're hearin' cheers when there ain't any. Dreamin' and drinkin' your life away. Heroes in the real world live twenty-four hours a day, not just two hours in a game. Mendacity! You won't.....you won't live with mendacity? Well, you're an expert at it! The truth is pain and sweat and payin' bills and makin' love to a woman that you don't love any more. Truth is dreams that don't come true, and nobody prints your name in the paper 'til you die."

by Anonymousreply 45February 21, 2023 1:06 AM

R29, I really like that one

by Anonymousreply 46February 21, 2023 1:15 AM

I liked the Streetcar Named Desire adaptation with Ann-Margret. She was really good in it.

by Anonymousreply 47February 21, 2023 1:18 AM

It was not made into a film, but somehow I managed to see a performance of Elizabeth Ashley in "Red Devil Battery Sign" which seems one of his rarely performed.

by Anonymousreply 48February 21, 2023 1:19 AM

...and, r48?

by Anonymousreply 49February 21, 2023 1:26 AM

R45 agreed - genius writing. That is art. That alone - and the delivery - makes Cat on a Hot Tin Roof worthwhile. And the anti-kid jokes.

by Anonymousreply 50February 21, 2023 2:37 AM

R25 - Joanne Woodward was not a lesbian and has never been associated with another woman in a romantic way. The closest is the friendship she had with Joan Collins when they were both Fox contract players in the 1950s and Joan is straight.

by Anonymousreply 51February 21, 2023 2:50 AM

So many interesting comments; even bowdlerized I enjoyed Cat. Suddenly Last Summer I saw as a child alone in a dreary theater in a small town at age 11 and knew they were talking about my kind. No one has mentioned Liz Taylor's version of Sweet Bird of Youth with Mark Harmon who was a stud to be reckoned with at that point in his career. She was blowzy and fragmented and believable.

I never cared for Leigh's Streetcar, but I did like Ann-Margret as Blanche.

by Anonymousreply 52February 21, 2023 3:23 AM

Elia Kazan's Baby Doll (1956) with a script by Williams based on two of his one-act plays. Carroll Baker, Karl Malden and Eli Wallach have never been better. 'Kazan does some of his best work here'-Pauline Kael

by Anonymousreply 53February 21, 2023 3:59 AM

I would have liked to have seen Lois Nettleton's Blanche.

[quote]As unfortunate as the silver productions of Streetcar turned out to be, a gift was given to me in the form of Lois Nettleton. There is vicious theatrical prejudice in the world, and I have been--and perhaps will again be--guilty of it. I did not think that Lois was sufficient to my Blanche, and I came to this conclusion based on the fact that the bulk of her work had been in television. I found her proficient and professional, but I could not imagine that she would manage the role of Blanche. I offered no resistance, because, quite frankly, I was exhausted and disgusted, and I had come to believe that my opinions--and my work--had no place in the American theatre any longer. I simply acquiesced, and Lois assumed the role.

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by Anonymousreply 54February 21, 2023 4:10 AM

R53 I wonder if Elia Kazan was trying to groom Eli Wallach into a working class sex symbol in that movie?

by Anonymousreply 55February 21, 2023 4:20 AM

I naned my cat Maggie just so I can greet her from her every nap with my Liz imitation, "Maggie the cat is aliiive!"

by Anonymousreply 56February 21, 2023 4:50 AM

R56, many years ago I named a cat Stella so I could yell for her Brando-style.

by Anonymousreply 57February 21, 2023 4:53 AM

Didn't she wonder why you were always yelling at her, r57?

by Anonymousreply 58February 21, 2023 4:58 AM

R58, we worked it out in therapy.

by Anonymousreply 59February 21, 2023 5:04 AM

Oh, you owe it to yourself, R44, to see the film version of “Night of the Iguana” - it offers many delights, besides the hunky maraca-shaking cabana boys Ava Gardener employs.

I think Ava Oscar her very best in the movie, Burton is having a great time and it shows, and, of course, there is Grayson Hall amazing performance as the most repressed lesbian of all time.

It’s really fun.

by Anonymousreply 60February 21, 2023 5:16 AM

"Night of the Iguana” must have had a weak plot if it was padded out from one act into three acts.

by Anonymousreply 61February 21, 2023 5:25 AM

Burt Lancaster was way over the top in Rose Tattoo.

by Anonymousreply 62February 21, 2023 7:42 AM

My favourite is “This Property is Condemned “

by Anonymousreply 63February 21, 2023 7:51 AM

[quote]Carroll Baker, Karl Malden and Eli Wallach have never been better.

That probably was Baker's highlight as a leading lady. But it surprised me when she reemerged later, long after her days as a sexy young thing, and was so good -- for example, as Dorothy's mother in Star 80. Even in Kindergarten Cop, in which she played the villain's mother (who's worse than he is), she was better than the part absolutely required. Perhaps her greatest late performance was in the film of Ironweed, as Nicholson's estranged wife. She shows up late in this tough, slow-moving film and kind of steals it away.

by Anonymousreply 64February 21, 2023 8:42 AM

Streetcar was best with Treat Williams and Ann-Margaret

by Anonymousreply 65February 21, 2023 9:56 AM

R64...dear god no. Margret was good enough (until the last couple of scenes imo) but Williams was, to this day, the worse Stanley I have seen....a one note villain with no charm or likeability....not even his (way too oiled up) hot bod helped you understand why Stella stayed with him. If he'd had a moustache, he would have twirled it. The supporting performances were incredibly bland too. Plus they reduced the play to about half of its irginal size to neatly fit 2 hours.

The Baldwin/Lange version was superior, though nothing beats the og.

by Anonymousreply 66February 21, 2023 12:44 PM

I saw a production of "The Two-Character Play" ten years ago, the same month I moved to New York, and the only thing I really remember is that Amanda Plummer gave one of the strangest performances I've ever seen in my life. She wasn't bad; she was bewildering.

by Anonymousreply 67February 21, 2023 1:58 PM

R44 Huston filmed on location in Puerto Vallarta and the cast especially Deborah Kerr and Ava Gardner are wonderful though Grayson Hall is screechy, and Burton is a bit over the top.

by Anonymousreply 68February 21, 2023 5:44 PM

[quote] Yes, Taylor accompanied Burton on location in Puerto Vallarta before Puerto Vallarta was a thing.

Taylor and Burton made PV into what it is today.

by Anonymousreply 69February 21, 2023 5:57 PM

Hope this doesn’t seem too off-topic, but re the discussion above about Paul Newman, here is a quote from Bee Wilson’s book review of Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life Of An Ordinary Man, by Paul Newman, edited by David Rosenthal, which appears in the 02/23/2023 edition of the London Review of Books.

“The question that agonizes Newman in the momoir is that of authentic emotion, what he calls his ‘core.’ He told Stern that for years no one else was real to him, not even Woodward and his children.”

Sounds sociopathic to me, albeit a benign sociopath, and one who worked hard to become a real, feeling human.

by Anonymousreply 70February 21, 2023 6:35 PM

"The Rose Tattoo" is about the only one I can stand among all of them save one (including the overwrought "Streetcar" in any version) because films and TV all are ripped apart and the performances almost always rather stupid.

All that fake emotion with no real themes except people are UPSET and UNHAPPY and CLOSETED and HAVING FITS.

Best performances are Anna Magnani ("Rose Tattoo") and Deborah Kerr ("Iguana"). Too many bad ones to note, but Geraldine Page in anything, Burton in "Iguana" and Newman and Taylor in "Cat" are especially repulsive.

The only other movie version worth watching is "Suddenly Last Summer," because at least it is so campily self-aware one can enjoy Liz Taylor being prepared for a lobotomy by Katharine Hepburn to hide the fact that Violet's son Sebastian was cannibalized by his former young male sex targets.

Hepburn at least did try in "Glass Menagerie" for TV. "Glass Menagerie" is the best play of all of them and a landmark in American theatre.

Everything else, not so much.

And I write as someone who knew the Williams family and grew up hearing stories about poor Tom going ga-ga as his talents left him. Booze and drugs do that, as his characters knew.

by Anonymousreply 71February 21, 2023 6:49 PM

Mrs. Stone...

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by Anonymousreply 72February 24, 2023 5:46 PM

I think of Night of the Iguana as a guilty pleasure; I’ve seen it several times and every once in a while the word “Nonno” pops into my head.

by Anonymousreply 73February 24, 2023 6:33 PM

I only recently saw Sweet Bird of Youth and really enjoyed it. Geraldine Page is spectacular in it and you can't take your eyes off of her. Even better, she's playing someone who's supposed to be this great screen beauty and, while Page has never been one of those, she makes you believe it due to her acting alone. That's raw talent right there.

The original film of Streetcar would have been better without all the annoying censoring, but the performances are wonderful and it's the gold standard. Ann Margret was great in the 80's TV movie and, while I usually love Jessica Lange and the part seemed perfect for her, I didn't care for her performance in the 90's version. She peaked too early and seemed ready to play the ending from her first entrance.

I've made peace with the idea that it seems The Glass Menagerie, as great as it is on stage, simply doesn't translate well to the screen. Some versions have gotten closer than others, but all of them disappoint in one way or another.

by Anonymousreply 74February 24, 2023 6:47 PM

[quote] Tennessee Williams plays

Did any of his plays contain any completely sane characters?

by Anonymousreply 75February 24, 2023 9:25 PM

A Streetcar Named Desire is a must to see, OP. Its a masterpiece of strictly acting. Everyone is at the top of their game in that movie.

by Anonymousreply 76February 24, 2023 9:42 PM


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by Anonymousreply 77February 24, 2023 9:43 PM

R76, I’ve seen it many times. I mentioned the three films I haven’t seen yet.

Thanks to everyone for the terrific responses. Good thread.

by Anonymousreply 78February 24, 2023 9:44 PM

[quote] Everyone is at the top of their game in that movie.

But there are just the two interesting characters in 'Streetcar'; just 3 in 'Cat'.

The others are just flat characters to help push the plot.

by Anonymousreply 79February 24, 2023 9:51 PM

Another vote for Eccentricities Of A Nightingale with Blythe Danner. It's a revised (and IMO better) version of Summer And Smoke.

I know Page is an icon, but I never much cared for her in Smoke (her mannerisms work much better in Sweet Bird Of Youth). Danner plays the same role far better.

The Fugitive Kind (based on Orpheus Descending) is pretty bad. Brando is stuck in a largely passive role, Magnani does what she can, and Woodward overacts. You can skip it.

Boom gets tiresome very quickly once you've gotten a nice look at the art direction and costumes. There's a fun scene between Taylor and Noel Coward, but you can probably find it on YouTube. Burton is a bore.

I tried to watch a 1970 film called The Last Of The Mobile Hot Shots (based on The Seven Descendants Of Myrtle) with James Coburn, Lynn Redgrave, and Robert Hooks and gave up after 30 minutes. Just awful.

by Anonymousreply 80February 24, 2023 10:24 PM

Correction: The Seven Descents Of Myrtle.

by Anonymousreply 81February 24, 2023 10:26 PM

I've never seen the Glass Menagerie with Joanne Woodward. How is it?

The 1950 version has that absurd ending, but the rest is better than I expected. The one with Hepburn suffers from the fact that she's miscast, and the Laura is dull. I tried watching the TV version with Shirley Booth but everyone in it acts like they're projecting to the balcony, and Booth is basically channeling Hazel.

by Anonymousreply 82February 24, 2023 10:30 PM

Five minutes of Shirley Booth is four minutes too much.

by Anonymousreply 83February 24, 2023 10:35 PM

Judge for yourself, r82...

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by Anonymousreply 84February 24, 2023 10:58 PM

Everybody always praises Vivien Leigh extravagantly for her Tennessee Williams performances, but Laurence Olivier gave a great Big Daddy

by Anonymousreply 85February 24, 2023 11:03 PM

I wish Laughton could have done Big Daddy in the '58 movie (because I hate Burl Ives)

by Anonymousreply 86February 24, 2023 11:06 PM

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is watchable because Newman and Taylor are beautiful and the supporting cast is generally good. Burl Ives does okay with some overly stagey dialogue, but the stuff about mendacity seems a bit off without attention to the homosexuality. Laughton would have been better, esp. with lines about the no-neck monsters.

"Night of the Iguana" has strong performances---Burton is great at this kind of role-- I can't imagine a better defrocked, talky minister and Gardner was born to play the innkeeper.

by Anonymousreply 87February 24, 2023 11:10 PM

[quote] the stuff about mendacity seems a bit off

I doubt an ordinary American would have heard that word 'mendacity' before.

I felt Williams lurched from overly-fey/Christopher Fry/poesy in the 1940s to Grand Guignol melodrama in the 60s and on to dissolution and consistent failure in the 1960s.

by Anonymousreply 88February 24, 2023 11:19 PM

They're all pretty bad, and the plays themselves are just gothic camp extravaganzas. streetcar is watchable thanks to Vivien Leigh, Natalie Wood gave a touching final tragic performance in TPSC. Taylor was fabulously beautiful , and quite good, as Maggie the cat. THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS STONE has that extraordinary central performance by VL, but it's not a play. Apart from that, If Tab Hunter hadn't turned down the part of Chance in Sweet bird of youth, it would have been the greatest , most perfectly cast of them all .

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by Anonymousreply 89February 24, 2023 11:29 PM

[quote] I tried watching the TV version with Shirley Booth

more like , Shirley Booze

by Anonymousreply 90February 24, 2023 11:36 PM

The Seven Descents of Myrtle

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by Anonymousreply 91February 25, 2023 12:19 AM

Tony-nominated Meryl's Baby Doll...

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by Anonymousreply 92February 25, 2023 12:30 AM

I generally just don’t cotton to Williams - I know he’s a great, important 20th century artist but all his plays other than Menagerie always seem to be way too much ado about really very little to me. Two hours of over the top hysterics and then - he’s gay, she’s a whore, she had a mastectomy.

I understand the issue lies with me, and I don’t quite understand it, I like all sorts of weird, unrealistic, “artsy” film and theater. There’s just something about the conventions of Post War drama that he and Miller embody that leave me cold.

I did love the Quinto/Jones production of Menagerie. The Anderson St Anne’s Whitehouse Streetcar was an interesting experience but it exacerbated the “how the hell are these two women sisters - what’s the fucking timeline” issue even more.

by Anonymousreply 93February 25, 2023 12:30 AM

Gillian Anderson was in a different play vs. Ben Foster and Vanessa Kirby in that Streetcar.

Plus there was a phone in the kitchen in that production, so when Blanche talks about calling Western Union you think "Just use the fucking phone! "

by Anonymousreply 94February 25, 2023 12:35 AM

[quote] how the hell are these two women sisters

Stella was a cypher, or a mere plot device.

by Anonymousreply 95February 25, 2023 12:35 AM

I didn't know Cleo was in it...

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by Anonymousreply 96February 25, 2023 12:44 AM

What is the age gap between Stella and Blanche supposed to be? Stella is a newlywed, and Blanch is often played by an actress well into middle age. How long could Blanch have been abandoned “to take care of everyone” if Stella is only in her late 20s? Stella is a youngish woman in the late 1940s but her sister goes on about a lifestyle that seems pre-WW I.

I know some of these confusions may stem from my ignorance of Southern culture and that era. I’d be happy for anyone with a better grasp of the play and the time period to clear some of this up.

by Anonymousreply 97February 25, 2023 12:53 AM

Shitting On Your Roof

by Anonymousreply 98February 25, 2023 12:54 AM

R93: Jones was fine. Quinto was awful. The guy who played the gentleman caller was much better.

by Anonymousreply 99February 25, 2023 12:56 AM

Tab Hunter in Sweet Bird of Youth? He would have been overwhelmed by the haminess that was Geraldine Page. Newman was still more star than actor, but he was beautiful and that was enough to not be overwhelmed by Page's scenery chewing (which fit the part up to a point, but was still excessive).

by Anonymousreply 100February 25, 2023 12:59 AM

R99 - I loved the expressionistic, disjointed set with the reflecting pools of water - it artfully created a memory play environment. The only thing that didn’t really work was Tom pulling Laura out of the sofa . I liked how Tom was obviously gay but they were still fairly subtle about it. Jones was the one Amanda I’ve seen who doesn’t come across as a narcissistic delusional cunt but a woman deeply worried about her children’s future.

by Anonymousreply 101February 25, 2023 1:15 AM

Except for being censored na having the ending changed "A Streecar Named Desire" with Brando and Vivian Leigh is probably the best. I saw a tv version of it that I thought was good, too. It starred Treat Williams and Ann Margaret. Williams made a good, hairy, brutish Stanley and Margaret did surprisingly well as Blanche.

The version of "Cat on A Hot Tin Roof" with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman had a great cast, but was also censored. That too had its ending changed.

I've never seen any version of "A Glass Menagerie" that I really liked. In every one I've seen the actors playing Tom and Laura are way too old. They look like they're in their 30s and they're supposed to be 21 and 23 years old. The same goes for the gentleman caller; he usually looks too old too. The first movie adaptation of TGM gave it a happy ending! Laura someone immediately gets another gentleman caller and supposedly lives happily ever after.

There was a good filmed version of "Orpheus Descending" starring Vanessa Redgrave and Kevin Anderson. An earlier film version starring Marlon Branda and Anna Magnani was titled "The Furgitive Kind." I never saw that one, but it didn't do well and flopped.

by Anonymousreply 102February 25, 2023 1:23 AM

[quote]There was a good filmed version of "Orpheus Descending" starring Vanessa Redgrave and Kevin Anderson

I saw that on Broadway, r102, I'd forgotten it was filmed.

by Anonymousreply 103February 25, 2023 1:36 AM

Irving Rapper directed that odd first film--the ultimate queeny women's director.

by Anonymousreply 104February 25, 2023 1:38 AM

[quote] Vivian Leigh

R102 Vivien Leigh

by Anonymousreply 105February 25, 2023 1:47 AM

There was an interesting filmed version of "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" starring Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Lange, Rip Torn and Kim Stanley. It's on YouTube.

A one act play by Williams called "This Property Is Condemned" was made into a film of the same name. It had a good cast: Natalie Wood, Robert Redford, Charles Bronson, Kate Reid, Mary Badham. It was directed by Sydney Pollock and the script was co-written by France Ford Coppola. Critics didn't like it but I thought it was good.

by Anonymousreply 106February 25, 2023 2:18 AM

R93 “I generally just don’t cotton to Williams”. Haha! Well, that’s just a perfect expression for a reference to Southern born Tennessee Williams.

And I have always felt the same way about Williams. “Two hours of over the top hysterics and then-he’s gay, she’s a whore, she had a mastectomy…”

I have seen all but Streetcar, which I have avoided because I also find his plays/films so depressing. After I watch one I can’t wash it off me and the whole thing of some deep dark secret submerged and kind of an obsession with what his seeming obsession about cherry picked perversions or presented as perversions annoys me as the story unfolds they are destroying a marriage or a relationship of some kind. I just find myself thinking, ‘face your problems and fix them’ . But no, the characters seem to have no desire to ‘move on’ from something or like to wallow in it, have no personal insight to whatever they are festering about. I can’t sympathize with his characters and find them pretty much unlikeable. I always end up musing about Williams and thinking what is his problem? I know this is almost a sacrilege, not to like Williams but I just can’t.

One more thing, it seemed to me Reflections in a golden eye to be kind of a knock off of Williams style. I thought it WAS his work for a long time.

by Anonymousreply 107February 25, 2023 2:26 AM

I might be alone but I thought Cat left it more or less clear about Skip being gay and Bricks defensiveness about it. It wasnt as overt as in the play but it was there.

by Anonymousreply 108February 25, 2023 2:43 AM

R97 in the script, Blanche is "about 30" and Stella "about 5 years younger than Blanche".

by Anonymousreply 109February 25, 2023 2:46 AM

R107 there was a long list of TW knock offs in the mid/late 50's ....The Long Hot Summer and Picnic being the most well known.

by Anonymousreply 110February 25, 2023 2:49 AM

Inge was different than Williams, r110.

by Anonymousreply 111February 25, 2023 2:51 AM

R109, Blanche was about 30 in Datalounge years.

by Anonymousreply 112February 25, 2023 2:53 AM

He was R111 but they still tried to pass it off as a TW type of film...just look at the marketing.

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by Anonymousreply 113February 25, 2023 2:53 AM

How was Inge was different than Williams?

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by Anonymousreply 114February 25, 2023 2:55 AM

How they sold it and what it was were two different things, r113. Of course marketing is going to play up the sex angle. But with Inge you get a ripped shirt, and with Williams you get rape.

by Anonymousreply 115February 25, 2023 2:58 AM


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by Anonymousreply 116February 25, 2023 3:39 AM

Renee's Blanche...

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by Anonymousreply 117February 25, 2023 3:40 AM

Always hated the idea of Streetcar as an opera. Opera lovers may appreciate it better, but to me it's not a play that translates well at all to opera.

by Anonymousreply 118February 25, 2023 11:58 AM

Well, it translates quite well to painting.

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by Anonymousreply 119February 25, 2023 12:14 PM

Speaking of, today marks the 40th anniversary of Tennessee's death. Every time I pass in front of the Hotel Elysee, (nicknamed "Easy Lay" by him), where he died in NYC, I think of him. Probably my favorite artist of all time.

by Anonymousreply 120February 25, 2023 12:39 PM

Inge wrote realistic dialogue (not Gothic monologues) and his sensibility was Midwestern and closeted. His mothers and daughters aren't always batshit crazy. They mostly just long for something else. His gay characters are in his smaller, rarely produced works.

"The Long Hot Summer" was based on Faulkner, and predates Williams, although it owes some tone and the marriage subplot to Williams and was obvioulsy an attempt to cash in on ithe success of "Cat".

by Anonymousreply 121February 25, 2023 1:25 PM

I 'd give 10 TW plays for 1 William Inge script

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by Anonymousreply 122March 1, 2023 2:13 PM

A couple of years ago, I saw a production in D.C. of TW’s last play on Broadway, “Clothes for a Summer Hotel” and thought it was quite touching. I only went because a fuck buddy of mine had a small part in it but I ended up really enjoying it.

The play was originally panned and famously closed after fourteen performances. Geraldine Page played Zelda Fitzgerald.

by Anonymousreply 123March 1, 2023 6:43 PM

[R3] "We saw the Encantadas, but on the Encantadas we saw something Melville hadn't written about."

by Anonymousreply 124March 1, 2023 7:45 PM

R5, It’s odd how Elia Kazan was a homophobe, but at the same time he couldn’t stop leaching off of talented gay artists like Tennessee Williams.

Streetcar looks so terribly dated, as do several of Kazan’s films. I recall Marlon complaining how dated Streetcar looked some time after it was released.

Marlon taking his shirt off and spraying himself with liquor is really the only reason I went back to watch it again.

by Anonymousreply 125March 2, 2023 9:12 PM

Your right, R125, Elia was a leach.

He hired a lot of beautiful men.

by Anonymousreply 126March 2, 2023 9:15 PM

I wasn't aware of this production of Camino Real...

[quote]In January 1970, the play enjoyed its first Broadway revival at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, directed by Jules Irving and starring Al Pacino (Kilroy), Victor Buono (Gutman), Patrick McVey (Don Quixote), Jean-Pierre Aumont (Casanova), Jessica Tandy (Camille), Sylvia Syms (the Gypsy), David J. Stewart (the Baron), Susan Tyrrell (Esmeralda), and Clifford David (Lord Byron). In his review for The New York Times, critic Clive Barnes wrote "there are people who think that Camino Real was Tennessee Williams's best play, and I believe that they are right. It is a play that seems to have been torn out of a human soul, a tale told by an idiot signifying a great deal of suffering and a great deal of gallantry."

by Anonymousreply 127March 2, 2023 10:13 PM

I love Tennessee Williams, even if he's over the top. I remember an interview with Truman Capote who said he was jealous of TW because he actually enjoyed writing, while Truman had to force himself. I'm not sure that he enjoyed it though - I think he was just driven - by his demons, or need to prove himself as a gay man from Mississippi/Memphis back when it was unacceptable. But being from Mississippi too, he's one of my muses (TW lived there till he was 8 or 10 and his folks were from there I think) -- but also William Faulkner though he does my head in trying to read.

Robin Williams' mother was from Mississippi and he said growing up with a Deep South mother was like having a combination of Tennessee Williams and Neil Simon raising you. Not true because not many are brilliant - but there's at least some truth in it. Brett Butler is a good example of the special kind of crazy female down here. Britney, Ellen, Tallulah, Zelda Fitzgerald, Diane Ladd -- when they're crazy, they tend to go whole hog.

by Anonymousreply 128March 2, 2023 11:18 PM

Some Williams film adaptations suffer from the same problem as the majority of Sam Shepard (who was the true heir to the Williams style minus the gayness) film adaptions - it’s that the actors as well as the director often get very lazy with the staging because the themes are obvious and have been overplayed by the writers themselves, the impact comes from the unique spin found within the details.

by Anonymousreply 129March 3, 2023 12:32 AM

R102, Ann Margaret and Treat Williams did a good job in the TV adaptation of Streetcar; some scenes worked better than the 1951 Brando film.

My only gripe was that Treat was wearing a belt buckle with the word "BAD" written across it with a black tank top/shirt. It made him look like an angst-ridden teenager waiting to shoot up a school. Whose idea was that?

by Anonymousreply 130March 3, 2023 1:52 AM

R130 Treat Williams was terrible. TERRIBLE as Kowalski. Someone forgot to tell him you're supposed to like the guy, at least up till the last couple of scenes. A one note villain. And they covered him in some weird oily grease for every scene...AND that belt buckle.... and don't get me started on that rape scene...Tennnessee would have turned in his grave.

by Anonymousreply 131March 3, 2023 4:04 AM

Hepburn's The Glass Menagerie is the one time I felt she did a convincing southern accent.

by Anonymousreply 132March 3, 2023 4:12 AM

The problem with Streetcar specifically is that Leigh is unsurpassable. I actually liked Jessica Lange better than AM of the TV filmed Streetcars but they are both quite inferior to Leigh.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof deserved a great and honest adaptation, but it still hasn’t gotten one. Doubt it ever will. I think the Lange/Tommy Lee Jones one came closest but still fell short.

Kat Hepburn’s Menagerie is the best of the filmed ones but like Lange’s CATH, it’s not great to begin with.

by Anonymousreply 133March 3, 2023 4:21 AM

I didn't like Lange's Blanche for the 1st 2/3rds of the play, but when the shit starts hitting the fan for Blanche, I think she's amazing. Not VL amazing but excellent.

I am the 1st to stand by the 51 version but it annoys the fuck out of me to hear people say it shouldn't be remade because it'll never be surpassed..it's a fucking play, it was written to be played a million different ways with a million different perspectives, all throughout the play. It's not a movie that was meant to be released once and that's the end of it. Not to mention that as excellent as it was, it still has censorship issues and has about 45 minutes of dialogue that was removed from the screenplay. It may not be surpassed but that's not necessary the point.

by Anonymousreply 134March 3, 2023 4:44 AM

[quote]The problem with Streetcar specifically is that Leigh is unsurpassable

Agreed. She probably gave the best performance ever given on screen, she hit all the spots, she was melodramatic and symbolic when necessary, real and heartbreaking when needed, mundane and funny at times, and so incredibly delicate, beautiful, almost like a wilting flower. She was really, really great in that movie. In a way she killed the part, because no one else can ever touch it.

by Anonymousreply 135March 3, 2023 10:01 PM

Leigh was born to play that part. She had all the pieces of the character in her own fragility and instability.

by Anonymousreply 136March 3, 2023 11:07 PM

I remember sitting through a screening in London for a tribute to Leigh, and just behind me was sitting - Alan Bates. (gorgeous). When Leigh finished her seduction scene with the student, I heard hm whisper "fabulous".

by Anonymousreply 137March 3, 2023 11:53 PM

Leigh and Brando are both essentially untouchable in those roles. I don't envy anyone who has to follow them. It's hard to put your own stamp on those roles without going so far in another direction that it becomes a different character entirely.

by Anonymousreply 138March 4, 2023 12:03 AM

Brando was ridiculous

by Anonymousreply 139March 4, 2023 12:07 AM

R139, How so?

by Anonymousreply 140March 4, 2023 12:17 AM

Stanley is not a pin-up

by Anonymousreply 141March 4, 2023 12:48 AM

R138 thing is the people that always say "Brando and Leigh are impossible to follow" are the same ones that are constantly name dropping them making it impossible for them to be forgotten.

And I say this as someone who considers Streetcar their favorite work of fiction, Streetcar '51 is hardly a perfect representative of the original play. It's probably the best one done so far, but far from perfect. There are plenty of new, different ways to play it , so I don't feel bad for the actors at all.

by Anonymousreply 142March 4, 2023 1:02 AM

What the movie versions of Tennessee Williams lacked was Mickey Rooney playing a crazy Asian man.

by Anonymousreply 143March 4, 2023 1:54 AM

What the movie versions of Tennessee Williams lacked was Marlon Brando impersonating a 6 foot high Japanese thief.

by Anonymousreply 144March 4, 2023 3:01 AM

[quote] Someone forgot to tell him you're supposed to like the guy, at least up till the last couple of scenes

Who the hell ever said that "you're supposed to like the guy, at least up till the last couple of scenes?" It's made clear almost immediately that Stanley is a lout, an asshole prone to violence, a brute. That's brought to light in one of the earlier scenes, the one where Blanche is bathing and Stanley starts blathering about "the Napoleonic code" and how he thinks Stella and he have been "swindled" by Blanche. He believes that Blanche sold Belle Reve and pocketed the proceeds and is lying about how the home was :"lost." In the poker game scene he throws the radio out the window and slaps the pregnant Stella around. No, Stanley Kowalski is not what many people would call a nice guy. I thought Treat Williams did a great job with the role.

by Anonymousreply 145March 4, 2023 5:32 AM

"Who the hell ever said that "you're supposed to like the guy, at least up till the last couple of scenes?"

Tennessee Williams, basically.

"Blanche must finally have the understanding and compassion of the audience. This without creating a black-dyed villain in Stanley. It is a thing (misunderstanding) not a person (Stanley) that destroys her in the end.”

Also, you have to buy Stella falling for a guy like Stan. It couldn't be just the muscles. If Stanley has the personality of a dry mop then it's just not believable. He's also supposed to have some innate charm to have him being the leader of a pack of friends. Treat played Stanley like a man with no charm, no humour and what's more important, no fear or vulnerability....these last 2 are HUGELY important to make you empathize with Stanley at least partly, to balance out the play a bit more and to understand his motivations, if not his actions.

by Anonymousreply 146March 4, 2023 5:50 AM

[quote] Tennessee Williams, basically.

I don't believe the statement "Blanche must finally have the understanding and compassion of the audience. This without creating a black-dyed villain in Stanley. It is a thing (misunderstanding) not a person (Stanley) that destroys her in the end" says that you're supposed to like Stanley until the final scene. I don't think Tennessee meant that at all.

[quote] Treat played Stanley like a man with no charm, no humour and what's more important, no fear or vulnerability...

Well. Stanley did have no "charm." Or humor. And I didn't see him exhibit any fear or vulnerability either, unless you consider him screaming "STELAH! at the top of his lungs "fear and vulnerability." Seems to me his behavior is always steeped in violence and narcissism.

And by the way, the audience is not supposed to "empathize" with Stanley. They're supposed to empathize with BLANCHE. After all, SHE is the one destitute and abused and drinking heavily and slipping into madness.

by Anonymousreply 147March 4, 2023 6:34 AM

Brando’s charisma is so powerful that I think it makes Stanley seem more sympathetic than he actually is. This was evident even before the film when he played the part on stage— the audience was captivated by him, no matter how horribly his character behaved.

by Anonymousreply 148March 4, 2023 9:27 AM

Thanks for the link R77. That was a great read.

by Anonymousreply 149March 4, 2023 10:39 AM

Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (1984) with Lange, Jones, and Stanley. 🤌🏻

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by Anonymousreply 150March 4, 2023 11:00 AM

A Streetcar Named Desire (1995) with Lange, Baldwin, Lane, and Goodman. 🔥

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by Anonymousreply 151March 4, 2023 11:02 AM

I've always thought the difference in the acting styles between Vivian Leigh and Marlon Brando enormously aided the film. The clash between Blanche and Stanley is also the the clash between the old and the new, the refined and the brutal and also, in the film, a clash between a more formal acting technique and the newer Actor's Studio method.

by Anonymousreply 152March 4, 2023 4:33 PM

[quote] Vivian Leigh

R152 Vivien Leigh

by Anonymousreply 153March 4, 2023 5:02 PM

Well Tennessee Williams wrote it like that, it's a clash between the new and old forms of theatre, the part of Blanche is meant to be symbolic and theatrical. Vivian Mary understood that and could deliver that side of the part (better that De Haviland, who was the original choice for the film version, ) because of her high intelligence, theatrical experience of the part, and firecrack delivery of long, elaborate speeches.

by Anonymousreply 154March 4, 2023 10:06 PM

[quote] Vivian

R154 Vivien

by Anonymousreply 155March 4, 2023 10:07 PM

Her real name was viviAn, so the posters who mispell her stage name get a pass in my book.

by Anonymousreply 156March 4, 2023 10:11 PM

“Listen, Paolo, there's no such thing as a great American lady. Great ladies do not occur in a nation less than 200 years old. “

by Anonymousreply 157March 4, 2023 10:46 PM

deHaviland would have been awful.

by Anonymousreply 158March 4, 2023 11:16 PM

De Haviland was still a robust, busty woman in 1951.

Poor Vivien was skinny but she had to wear those ugly grey lines under her eyes to make her look extra delicate and haggard.

by Anonymousreply 159March 4, 2023 11:20 PM

De Haviland would have made Blanche either too mannered or too crazy w/o conveying either her power or fragility. Vivian could draw on her own experience of mental illness---I'm sure that it would have been difficult for her to do this on stage (decompensating every night and twice on matinee days) but it worked for a movie.

by Anonymousreply 160March 4, 2023 11:26 PM

Decompensating = an intransitive verb meaning 'to lose the ability to maintain normal or appropriate psychological defenses, sometimes resulting in depression, anxiety, or delusions'.

by Anonymousreply 161March 4, 2023 11:51 PM

R158 = Joan Fontaine

by Anonymousreply 162March 4, 2023 11:58 PM

God, Joan would have been even worse.

by Anonymousreply 163March 5, 2023 12:20 AM

Joan would have been very similar to Jessica Tandy.

by Anonymousreply 164March 5, 2023 12:30 AM

Why do all the film Blanches always seem "too old" to me? I honestly thought Leigh was over 50 when I saw the movie in college -- just now did the math; she was only 38, which is right for the part. Lange was 46, and Ann Margaret was 43 but again when I saw those films they seemed older, and that always made the timeline / action of the play seem confusing to borderline ridiculous. This is my own ignorance, but it has colored my feeling for the play all these years - perhaps it is the mannered, artificial way Blanch is written that alway tripped me up. I will re-watch the Leigh version because of this thread and maybe now that I'm over 50 I'll finally get it.

by Anonymousreply 165March 5, 2023 1:16 AM

Alright - I did some googling and Blanche is supposed to be around 5 years older than Stella, who is about 25. So even 38 actually is pushing it a bit, (not to mention 46), but I understand this is art, not reality.

However I did find a female blogger who mused on Blanch being "a total ruin" at 30 and she made the following snarky observation: "Blanche DuBois is a thirty-year-old woman who has to move in with her sister and her sister’s husband because she has turned thirty. She married a gay guy once and this made her insane. After her boyfriend finds out she used to have other boyfriends, he leaves her forever and she goes so insane she goes to prison. This was an actual thing that happened to an actual fictional character in the 1940s, at which point the following things already existed: The Kinsey Report / Superman / Frisbees / Penicillin / Latex condoms / Bikinis / New Orleans’ first gay bar / Tampax.

I know I'm personally more in sync with modern snark than Southern Gothic, but I will give Miss Leigh's performance another go.

by Anonymousreply 166March 5, 2023 2:16 AM

Blanche being portrayed as much older than she's supposed to be makes the show too campy. That and a Stanley that acts more stupid and ape like than he's supposed to.

I guess I will disagree about Stanley having to be unlikeable from the beginning? Where's the twist then? The revelation? Both Williams and Kazan have said that you're initially supposed to sympathize with Stanley and then slowly you begin warming up to Blanche and realizing how cruel Stanley really is. That's the trajectory that the audience is supposed to have.

by Anonymousreply 167March 5, 2023 2:31 AM

Isn't some poetic license expected with theatrical productions though? Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer playing Romeo and Juliet in their 40s or whatever?

Very youthful actors often don't have the experience or gravitas to pull these things off. So I'm glad we had Vivien Leigh instead of some 30 year old newbie.

by Anonymousreply 168March 5, 2023 2:39 AM

30 years old in 1947 is clearly not 30 year old in 2023.....I respect the original material but I absolutely think if Tennessee was alive he'd cast someone in their late 30s/early 40's. Hell Jessica Tandy herself was 38 (and so was Leigh) when she played Blanche.

by Anonymousreply 169March 5, 2023 2:48 AM

I wish there was a film adaptation of Glennie's turn as Blanche at the National Theatre. I would've loved to have seen that! She was 55 at the time and perhaps a bit too [italic]camp.[/italic]

"But then there's nothing remotely soft about Close's robust, theatrically florid, scarcely vulnerable approach toward a woman riding her own streetcar toward despair... her Blanche, despite (or perhaps in part because of) the careful, even fussy attention to detail in it, settles too often simply for camp." -- Variety

"In Close's performance though, we mostly get staginess. At times indeed, her performance is so mannered that she puts one more in mind of an exceptionally accomplished drag artiste rather than a real woman suffering dreadfully." -- The Telegraph

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by Anonymousreply 170March 5, 2023 3:15 AM

R168 - you can get away with that type of casting much more easily on stage than in a film. Obviously there is the "Grease" convention of casting 30 year olds as High School Students, but in "Grease" at least everyone is constantly too old. In '51 Brando was 27 and Hunter 29, but Leigh looks more than 10 years older than her pregnant sister, which is already too much - it throws things off.

by Anonymousreply 171March 5, 2023 3:20 AM

Natasha Richardson, as much as I loved her, looked like she just came from the gym and not from Belle Reve.

It didn’t help that her Stanley was played by Mr Cellophane.

by Anonymousreply 172March 5, 2023 3:24 AM

Has there ever been a Blanche cast in their early 30s. I can't help but wonder how that would read and if it would change the play. On stage, most people can pass for 5-10 younger with the right lighting, makeup, and distance, so it makes sense older actresses tend to play the role.

by Anonymousreply 173March 5, 2023 3:56 AM

I’ve always been interested in Stella’s backstory. How did she leave Belle Reve? How did she meet Stanley? Kim Hunter seemed too timid to go to the places where Stanley might be hanging out, although I can see how she would transfer her dependency from Blanche to Stanley.

by Anonymousreply 174March 5, 2023 4:08 AM

I thought Nicole Ari Parker was in her 30s when she played Blanche on Broadway. Turns out she was in her early 40s.

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by Anonymousreply 175March 5, 2023 4:12 AM

[quote] "Blanche DuBois is a thirty-year-old woman who has to move in with her sister and her sister’s husband because she has turned thirty.

Actually, she had to move in with Stella because she's lost her teaching job, her only source of income. She also had to get out of Laurel because she'd developed such a reputation that she couldn't stay there anymore. As Stanley put it "That's why she's here this summer, visiting royalty, because she's practically told by the mayor to get out of town!"

by Anonymousreply 176March 5, 2023 4:21 AM

Just recently watched the Streetcar TV movie with Ann-Margret and was really impressed with all of it. The entire cast was great and Treat Williams was sexy as hell. Also was not expecting A-M's performance to be as effective as it was. Hers is the only Blanche that ever made me tear up at the end. (MARY!-ing myself)

by Anonymousreply 177March 5, 2023 12:55 PM

R177 have to disagree about AM, I thought she was good until the ending, she acted more manic and crazy than broken and defeated.

R174 I always imagined they met in a USO sort pf thing or a war canteen or something, Stella probably volunteering and Stanley showing up after the war. The classes weren't so divided when it came to that sort of thing.

R173 the new London revival has a very young cast, the Stella and Blanche actors are in their early 30's and hottest-ticket-in-town Paul Mescal only 27. On the fence about that one, I find the younger ages refreshing but I just don't know if they can play the necessary fire and gravitas...then again Brando was 23 when he did Streetcar on stage...then again that was Brando.

by Anonymousreply 178March 5, 2023 1:51 PM

Elizabeth Taylor went to Mexico during Iguanas' filming to keep Burton from fucking Ava Gardner.

by Anonymousreply 179March 5, 2023 2:09 PM

Richard Brooks adapted (re-wrote) and directed both Cat and Sweet Bird Of Youth. They're two of the worst Williams film adaptations, but at least SBOY has the two Broadway leads in it. Someone above said SBOY was one of the most faithful adaptations, but not at all, since in the play, Chance Wayne has given Heavenly VD, and she's had to have surgery for it, which left her unable to have children - and in the end he's castrated. He also speaks to the audience. For ex., at the close: I don't ask for your pity, but just for your understanding—not even that—no. Just for your recognition of me in you, and the enemy, time, in us all.

by Anonymousreply 180March 5, 2023 2:17 PM

if Hollywood somehow could have waited only a few (less than 10) years to have adapted some of these TW works, they could have made fairly faithful adaptations, since the production code was eventually eliminated.

by Anonymousreply 181March 5, 2023 2:19 PM

R181: If they waited 10 years, they could have done the mental illness but not the "icky" sex stuff--gay themes were muted, even a film like Midnight Cowboy pulls punches and focuses on the Voight character is gigolos for women. Be happy for what we have---Brando and Leigh have no contemporary equivalents. Cat's Southern Gothic tone would be difficult to capture now---the New South is more like Housewives of Atlanta.

One of the flaws in Williams was his endless recycling of his family and when he diverted from that he often failed. Night of the Iguana is an exception because the overbearing mother is relegated to a supporting part and the defrocked minister is as close as we get to florid mental illness.

by Anonymousreply 182March 5, 2023 2:38 PM

R182 If they could play "Hump The Hostess" in Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf in 1966 they could have gone a lot further that they could in 1958 or 1962. The Pawnbroker (1964) had nude scenes. The motion picture code was abandoned in 1968. Staircase (1969) had Richard Burton and Rex Harrison playing a couple of old queens. I really think Cat On A Hot Tin Roof could have been presented verbatim by then.

You're right about the casts, but I was just stating something I often think, watching these films (especially the Richard Brooks adaptations) - how different it would have been if it had just been a few years later.

by Anonymousreply 183March 5, 2023 2:49 PM

While film became more daring in the late 1960s, stars were still worried about their reputations. Paul Newman was building a career as a heartthrob and ladies man. Would he have done a role that had explicit gay content?

And yes, the above mentioned Staircase had two famous men playing gay, but both were in their decline career wise, plus the film was done in the more liberal Britain (see what the Carry On films were doing as opposed to the US) and Staircase wasn’t a mainstream movie (ie more art house in tone).

by Anonymousreply 184March 5, 2023 3:11 PM

How was Bette Davis as Maxine in the stage version of Night of the Iguana? I wonder if she was livid that a manufactured MGM sex goddess Ava Gardner, who never considered herself much of an actress, received really good reviews for the part in the film version.

by Anonymousreply 185March 5, 2023 3:20 PM

I also think in the case of both Cat and Sweet Bird,they were MGM pictures, big studio films, somewhat traditional in approach because of that. If they had been indie films maybe they would have pushed more against the Production Code. It's incredible to think The Pawnbroker was only two years later than Sweet Bird Of Youth. Even The Night Of The Iguana (also two years later) was more frank.

Btw, also done in Britain was Victim (1961), a gay-themed film.

Staircase was not really some indy film, it was a 20th Century-Fox film directed by Stanley Donen, and Burton's film career was not in decline, he was in the height of his fame and was nominated for Best Actor that same year for Anne Of The Thousand Days (1969).

by Anonymousreply 186March 5, 2023 3:21 PM

R185 Bette left the play and was replaced by Shelley Winters. Bette apparently didn't get along with anyone and was in a role where she was basically in support, and Margaret Leighton (who was top-billed) got all the good reviews.

Apparently Williams dreamed of having Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis in the parts, but only Davis chose to do the play.

by Anonymousreply 187March 5, 2023 3:25 PM

Deborah Kerr was perfection as Hannah in NOTI...pure at heart, but not pristine, one of the few truly likeable TW heroines.

by Anonymousreply 188March 5, 2023 3:45 PM

Kerr, Burton, and Gardner were all good in that film.

by Anonymousreply 189March 5, 2023 3:46 PM

R188 Kerr got her arms all the way around that character, Hannah. That character has all this complexity, being broke and vulnerable but also tough and stoic and, in that last act, wise and worldly. The frank dialogue between Shannon and Hannah is pretty moving, especially when Hannah discloses “nothing human disgusts me.”

Burton’s lines have some pretty clever bitchcraft, calling Grayson Hall’s character “the witch of Endor”, the “bell cow”, etc. I think he gets a few jabs at Kerr’s character when he is bound up in the hammock, too.

It’s probably hokey to many viewers, but I found the last acts of Night of the Iguana so moving. Kerr in particular. I think the music is scored pretty masterfully, too, in that it follows the emotional timbre of the film so closely. It just a fine old film and full of so many cool touches. The “cool hustler “ kitchen scene where Huston splices in a close-up of the fish head severed by a machete, “a certain Miss Fellows” is pretty quick and clever.

by Anonymousreply 190March 5, 2023 5:00 PM

I kind of like Period Of Adjustment. Filmed around the same time as Sweet Bird Of Youth, I think? Jim Hutton, Anthony Franciosa, and Lois Nettleton are fine - as well as John McGiver and Mabel Albertson. It's Jane Fonda who's just not good. Miscast. It's a part Connie Stevens could have played better. Or Stella Stevens, for that matter.

by Anonymousreply 191March 5, 2023 5:04 PM

Vivien was the youngest screen Blanche, I think. She was 37 during filming (36 on stage) with aging makeup. The character is meant to be about 30. Jessica Tandy was actually the same age as Leigh when she originated the part, but her replacement Uta Hagen was 30 on the dot. Lange was 43 (on stage)/46, AM was 43.

So I have no clue why actresses in their 50s are often suggested to play the part now. Even late 40s seems weird to me: I don’t think it makes sense for Blanche to an Alexandra Del Lago age. Tallulah Bankhead was the only over 50 Blanche in the 20th century. Rosemary Harris was 43, Blythe Danner was 45, Natasha Richardson was 42. Cate Blanchett was 40. Rachel Weisz was 39. Nicole Ari Parker was 42. Gillian Anderson was 42.

Actually the newest West End Blanche is the correct age. She’s 33 years old.

by Anonymousreply 192March 5, 2023 5:34 PM

That is impressive research Another Blanche was Judith Evelyn (who played Miss Lonleyhearts in Rear Window). Famous for Angel Street (Gaslight) and The Shrike. She was born in 1909. Same age as Jessica Tandy. She was in the second road company, with Ralph Meeker as Stanley.

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by Anonymousreply 193March 5, 2023 5:51 PM

I can't believe This Property is Condemned isn't getting more love!

by Anonymousreply 194March 5, 2023 5:54 PM

In the film, Stanley and Stella's apartment is so crummy-looking. My folks were young marrieds at that time, they were poor, but they didn't live in that squalor. They're both able-bodied. Couldn't they give the place a good wash, and paint it?

by Anonymousreply 195March 5, 2023 5:56 PM

R193 Judith Evelyn played the best drunk ever in Female in the Beach. She stumbles around after Jeff Chandler with a giant snifter of brandy, with the perfect squeaky drunk voice (“Drummy! Drummy? heh?”), then gets pushed through a deck railing by Jan Sterling. So good.

by Anonymousreply 196March 5, 2023 6:15 PM

R196 She was alsways so campy. She was great as Jean Simmons's mom in Hilda Crane, too.

by Anonymousreply 197March 5, 2023 6:33 PM

R192 I've heard people complain that Weiz and Blanchett were too young. Late 30's for me is the perfect casting age. Old enough that you can see the 1st stages of aging, young enough to attract Mitch and Stanley. Blanchett was 39/40 but judging from the stage photos, made to look older too. Weird.

by Anonymousreply 198March 5, 2023 7:52 PM

Some versions lean heavier into the alcoholic aspects of Blanche than others and we all know how too much booze can age you prematurely. I suppose it makes sense that Blanche should look older than her years then.

by Anonymousreply 199March 5, 2023 8:13 PM

R194 I love This Property is Condemned. Tennessee didn't like it because it changed a lot of things from the original short story but I think it's absorbing and has held up pretty well.

by Anonymousreply 200March 5, 2023 10:19 PM

[quote]I've heard people complain that Weiz and Blanchett were too young.

When viewing the play through contemporary eyes, yes, watching a 30-something woman panic over her fading looks and loss of relevancy seems a ludicrous premise. But back when the play was written, and especially in the South, a fading rose pushing 30, with no husband, no kids, and no raison-d'être, sometimes meant a trip to the asylum.

It makes much more sense today if Blanche were played by actresses in their 40s and maybe even in their 50s.

by Anonymousreply 201March 5, 2023 11:18 PM

R201 That makes no sense. If the actresses were in their 40s or 50s what about the actress playing Stella? And what about Stanley? This is a young married couple expecting their first baby. It's 2 or 3 of years after WWII and he was a soldier in the war. Blanche is the older sister, not the mother.

by Anonymousreply 202March 6, 2023 12:00 AM

R202 - that’s my fundamental problem with the play - Blanch really only makes sense as a character if she’s in her late 40s in 47 - that gives her a 1920s youth, a time where the genteel Southern lifestyle she goes on and on about still existed, and time for her failed marriage and the slow loss of Belle Reve as she is saddled with taking care of elderly relations. But Stanley & Stella only work as a late 20s couple who met during or right after the war. If Blanch is only 5 years older than Stella, who has only been with Stanley for a few years, how the hell did her life go so off the rails so quickly? Why do they seem like women from completely different generations, and how did she build up so much resentment over her sister only recently leaving? The writing is beautiful and powerful, but it falls apart if you look at it too closely - Blanch seems objectively more like a youngish Aunt who was extremely close to Stella when she was a girl.

by Anonymousreply 203March 6, 2023 12:25 AM

Well if she got married at 16 and she's 34 or 35, that would mean her marriage was 18 or 19 years ago, the late 1920s.

by Anonymousreply 204March 6, 2023 12:32 AM

We're getting obsessed with Blanche's age here.

The author based Blanche on his sister's mental condition. How old was she?

by Anonymousreply 205March 6, 2023 12:38 AM

R185 - NYT review -

Some remarkable performances animate and deepen the sensitive, restrained writing of the central roles...Bette Davis, with flaming red hair and in a daringly unbuttoned blouse, is the earthy, practical sensualist.

by Anonymousreply 206March 6, 2023 12:50 AM

R206 Was that her entire review?

By the way I wish sometimes we could go back and read other reviews besides those of the NYTimes. Both plays and films. Herald-Tribune, Post, etc. Are they available?

by Anonymousreply 207March 6, 2023 1:00 AM


One of my dearest memories was the week I spent with a sober, funny Tennessee Williams. His play "Eccentricities of a Nightingale" was on stage that week, and I was responsible for getting Mr. Williams to his various interviews, rehearsals, and errands. He was with an assistant who was also his boyfriend. They stayed at what was basically an old motel, but he loved it. He wrote for a few hours every day, using an old portable typewriter. He insisted on sitting next to me in my old car as we cruised along the back roads of Cape Cod and shared so many stories about his life.

Years later, I saw him again in Key West in a drug store. He was staggering up and down the aisles with a basket filling it with non-prescription medication. I turned to my Mom and said, "that's Tennessee Williams." So sad.

—Billy Boy

by Anonymousreply 208March 6, 2023 1:13 AM

Blanche could be thought of as a "much older sister". Beyond that, this is a play about Williams' family--she's a mix of his mother and sister and meant to be as troubled as the two combined. That's really what counts here.

by Anonymousreply 209March 6, 2023 2:45 AM

I imagine Blanche's youth more in the 1930's.....I think of Miriam Hopkins (Williams 1st heroine) in the movie "The Story of Temple Drake" from the 30's....it makes more sense for the timeline and also the Great Depression was probably the last nail on that failing family estate.

by Anonymousreply 210March 6, 2023 4:11 AM

Any .love for Helen Mirren in The Roman Spring TV movie?

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by Anonymousreply 211March 6, 2023 5:47 AM

I don’t know, the play is a period piece and should be staged as such. I don’t think a Blanche being middle aged makes sense of the character.

by Anonymousreply 212March 6, 2023 6:37 AM

Who cares if Blanche is 32 or 48? You know what y'all need?

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by Anonymousreply 213March 6, 2023 6:53 AM

My grandmother was one of eight sisters - the oldest one born in 1890 and the youngest in 1920. So just imagine it was one of those large families they often used to have.

I never even thought about their ages. Vivien has such vulnerability and beauty - Marlon's role fits with a brash young guy - and Stella is just, well, she seemed so dull to me in the film she could have been any age - I hardly noticed her.

by Anonymousreply 214March 6, 2023 9:05 AM

Even without a lot of siblings, Stella could have been an "oops" and there also could have been multiple miscarriages in between her and Blanche---in the days before birth control, both were common. Blanche got the tail end of the finery while Stella didn't and she was swept off her feet by Stanley's animal magnetism (which Brando captured).

by Anonymousreply 215March 6, 2023 1:48 PM

[quote]I watched Summer and Smoke last night and quite enjoyed it. Laurence Harvey made a dashing hedonistic doctor and Geraldine Page was moving as the prim minister’s daughter in love with him.

Will you make it through the summah OP?

by Anonymousreply 216March 6, 2023 1:50 PM

Vivien Leigh (1913), Kim Hunter (1922).

Miriam Hopkins was born in 1902

by Anonymousreply 217March 6, 2023 4:27 PM

I would love to know what Williams would think of Lange’s portrayals. He was quite intrigued by and complimentary to her early on.

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by Anonymousreply 218March 6, 2023 10:17 PM

For those interested, the quote is from the book Follies of God by James Grissom.

[quote]"I'm intrigued by Jessica Lange. I like her relationship with words, which she holds in her mind and in her mouth as if they were either the most delectable sweet or a particularly noxious substance that she cannot wait to propel toward her audience or an adversary. She is a masticating actress, I suppose, thinking all the time, the brain working, the mouth set in particular ways, the inhalation that precedes action. I think good things await her, and I don't think she is merely a pretty new thing."—Tennessee Williams

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by Anonymousreply 219March 6, 2023 10:21 PM

The rest of Williams’ quote on Lange is even more effusive:

[quote]She has a strong presence that is bolstered by the sense that she knows more than she is revealing: She's got the goods on almost everyone, but she's withholding, and this makes her terribly appealing. It makes her dangerous, and I like a dangerous actress. She seems unafraid, except perhaps of time, because the mind is racing, getting to a conclusion or an effect or the truth terribly fast. This indicates that she is intelligent, and you can do a lot with a smart actress. I would ask you to watch her.”—Tennessee Williams

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by Anonymousreply 220March 6, 2023 10:55 PM

By the time he saw Lange in anything his brain was rotted from drugs and alcohol.

by Anonymousreply 221March 7, 2023 2:41 AM

R170, Glenn looks like Robbin Williams playing Mrs. Doubtfire playing Blanche.

by Anonymousreply 222March 7, 2023 2:55 AM

First of all - yes they eliminated the homosexuality in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in 1958 but look at Paul Newman's eyes when Taylor inquires about Skipper. It's clear he has a secret he is defensive about.

"Boom" is based on "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Any More" where Flora/Cissy Goforth is supposed to be an old dying woman and Christopher Flanders is this young gorgeous hunk/Angel of Death. Well, Taylor in the movie is mid-30's and gorgeous and vital and doesn't look like she is dying or in decline. Burton looks much older than her and haggard. Totally miscast. Should have been someone like the young Terence Stamp or even John Philip Law could have been right for it. Tab Hunter played it on Broadway with Tallulah Bankhead. And Flora/Cissy could have been any number of actresses - Geraldine Page or even maybe Joan Crawford???

Tennessee Williams always had a poetic streak that turned more and more surrealist and abstract in his later plays. Check out "Ten Blocks on the Camino Real" below with Martin Sheen, Carrie Nye, Hurd Hatfield, Lotte Lenya filmed for TV below:

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by Anonymousreply 223March 7, 2023 3:18 AM

Joan Crawford played that kind of role 10 years before and it was pure camp. Paiges's haggy scenery chewing might have worked.

by Anonymousreply 224March 7, 2023 3:56 AM

I still disagree that they eliminated the homosexuality out of Cat....it was hinted at pretty heavily and at one point it's pretty much said aloud:

BD: You started drinking with your friend Skipper's death. Ain't that the truth?

Brick: What are you suggesting?

Big Daddy: Nothing. But...

Brick: But what?Say your mind. Say it!

Big Daddy: Why are you so excited?

Brick: Go ahead, say it!

Big Daddy: Why are you shouting like that?

Brick: Skipper and I were friends, understand?

Big Daddy: Gooper said that Skipper was...

Brick: Skipper is the only thing that I've got left to believe in! And you drag it through the gutter! You make it shameful and filthy!

I just mention it because I see that in alot of older movies they allude or imply something very obviously but the modern viewer can't quite realize it, they are forced to be spoon fed everything.

by Anonymousreply 225March 7, 2023 4:39 AM

[quote] In '51 Brando was 27 and Hunter 29, but Leigh looks more than 10 years older than her pregnant sister, which is already too much - it throws things off.

This is Vivien in 1951, not in makeup or costume for the role. She looks a lot better, but they obviously wanted to make her look hagard for the role. I'm not going to quibble about her age because she was brilliant, and anyway, I've seen the movie several times and never thought about the ages. The totally conviced me they were sisters, and were only 8 or 9 years apart anyway.

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by Anonymousreply 226March 8, 2023 12:44 AM

R222, Robin Williams would have been a great Blanche.

by Anonymousreply 227March 8, 2023 1:28 AM

Glenn would make a better Mitch.

by Anonymousreply 228March 8, 2023 4:27 AM

Too bad Julie Andrews never attempted Blanche.

Just kidding. How about Carol Burnett and Vicki Lawrence as Blanche and Stella?

by Anonymousreply 229March 8, 2023 4:38 AM

R226 thank you never saw this pic. Gielgud wrote that Viv was at her most beautiful in 51 and he was appalled that she chose to appear like that in the movie

by Anonymousreply 230March 8, 2023 9:43 AM

My favorite part of THIS PROPERTY IS CONDEMNED is the scene in the abandoned wagon there a long shot that shows a scribbling on the side , reading MIS ALVA "is a whoar" supposedly painted by some street urchin. Looks like a future DLer was working on that set.

by Anonymousreply 231March 8, 2023 9:47 AM

TW is grotesque and his plays are ludicrous. so dated. Bloated soap operas. The only reason he's still a thing, verynobvious from this thread, is miss Leigh

by Anonymousreply 232March 8, 2023 10:08 AM

R232 Who do you consider a great playwright?

by Anonymousreply 233March 8, 2023 12:45 PM

Shakespeare was good, R233, but he needs a LOT of editing.

by Anonymousreply 234March 8, 2023 12:59 PM

R234 Shakespeare? Talk about bloated soap operas.

by Anonymousreply 235March 9, 2023 1:36 AM

It’s no movie script, but some of you may be interested in this.

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by Anonymousreply 236March 9, 2023 1:39 AM

[quote] TW is grotesque and his plays are ludicrous. so dated. Bloated soap operas

You're either a stupid troll trying to get a rise out of people or just stupid.

by Anonymousreply 237March 9, 2023 1:44 AM

Interesting that comparing the Blanches comes up again, and again, here. Blanche is a role that many actresses are dying to play, and many do very well by it, despite the towering presence of Vivien Leigh.

And yet, there really is no other Stanley but Marlon Brando. Stanley is a much smaller part than Blanche, but it is impossible to cast it.

by Anonymousreply 238March 9, 2023 2:10 AM

The shower/sobering-up scene with Marlon and his pals Moe, Larry, and Curly was an odd moment in the film. Besides this one slapstick scene the film has very little to no humor. I'm not sure if this is a part of the play or just Kazan's clumsy effort at comedy, but it felt awkward and out of place given that it came right after Stanley drunkenly attacking Stella after being annoyed with Blanche’s noise-making while playing cards with his pals.

by Anonymousreply 239March 10, 2023 2:41 AM

[quote] Who do you consider a great playwright?

a straight, masc playwright who types butch, and writes masc plays about masc, straight guys

by Anonymousreply 240March 10, 2023 9:49 PM

Acc to Wikipedia Streetcar was the 5th highest grossing film of 1951.

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by Anonymousreply 241March 11, 2023 5:31 AM

Cat was the 3rd highest grossing film of 1958.

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by Anonymousreply 242March 11, 2023 5:32 AM

Suddenly, Last Summer was #7 in 1959.

I think these three were the biggest box-office hits made from Tennessee's plays.

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by Anonymousreply 243March 11, 2023 5:40 AM

I was born in 1956 and my sister in 1950. It feels like we are from completely different generations. All through her life, her and her husbands friends were older. Even today, her friends are in their late 70s and one is 93. My friends are all younger. Her music was totally different and went till the late 60s. Mine was late 60s through the 70s.

She was married at 21. I was married at 29 so I was single 15 years longer. Because our father died when I was young and my mother had to go to work, she was very much like a surrogate mother to me, almost my entire life. She took care of our mother when she got older.

My point is you can be five, six, seven years apart in age and decades apart in life.

If you went into a theater and knew nothing about the play or characters, you'd think Stanley was right in suspecting something was up with Blanche. Belle Reve was "lost;" what does that mean? Where's all the paperwork? Why does she act like a Southern belle in the post-war era and it's new world? Something is very off about her and she could well be a grifter. Stanley is looking out for his wife's interests. I agree you should at least think he's not some unlikeable lout from the beginning.

Just my two cents.

by Anonymousreply 244March 11, 2023 7:33 AM

R241/242 IMAGINE that happening now..a film adaption of a prestigious play coming in 3rd or 5th of the most grossing of the year...how depressing.

by Anonymousreply 245March 11, 2023 1:12 PM

"Tennessee Williams always had a poetic streak that turned more and more surrealist and abstract in his later plays. Check out "Ten Blocks on the Camino Real""

Camino Real was an early play.

Any fans of Baby Doll? Anyone ever seen the forgotten Last of the Mobile Hot Shots? I've tried to track down a copy but haven't had luck.

by Anonymousreply 246March 11, 2023 1:33 PM

R246 Baby doll is fun and refreshing...probably the most comedic of the films...and that scene between Baker and Wallach on the swings...oof

by Anonymousreply 247March 11, 2023 2:52 PM

R245 Yes, if you look up the year followed by "in film" on Wikipedia you'll see all the top grossing films of the past few years are action, superheroes, or animation. I don't know when the last Broadway play (non-musical) adaptation was a box-office giant, maybe the early 80s and On Golden Pond, which was #2 I think.

by Anonymousreply 248March 11, 2023 4:13 PM


by Anonymousreply 249March 11, 2023 4:18 PM

Sorry, the board moves faster (or slower?) than my fingers.

by Anonymousreply 250March 11, 2023 4:19 PM

Chicago is a musical and I said non-musical, but it's still significant and unusual. Hollywood definitely made popular films from serious plays at one time, though, like Willians, Inge, Thornton Wilder, Miller, O'Neill, and also a great many comedies based on Broadway hits.

by Anonymousreply 251March 11, 2023 4:25 PM

Amadeus grossed 90 million over two years (84/85).

by Anonymousreply 252March 11, 2023 7:07 PM

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest was also a Broadway play but was a novel first.

by Anonymousreply 253March 11, 2023 7:09 PM


by Anonymousreply 254March 11, 2023 8:47 PM


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by Anonymousreply 255March 11, 2023 9:59 PM

Agnes Of God was another one but not a Top 10 box office hit probably.

by Anonymousreply 256March 11, 2023 10:01 PM

Actually, A Few Good Men (1992) was one of the top grossing films of the year. By the 2000s and 2010s though, it became much mnore about franchises, action, fantasy, Disney - and now, superheroes.

by Anonymousreply 257March 11, 2023 10:08 PM

R252 Despite what you say, I claim that 'Amadeus' isn't recognisable as a 'popular film from a serious play'.

The non-English-speaking person in charge of that movie threw out the dialogue and chose clowns instead of serious actors.

by Anonymousreply 258March 11, 2023 11:21 PM

Tom Hulce and F Murray Abraham are "clowns instead of serious actors" ?

by Anonymousreply 259March 11, 2023 11:28 PM

The origional Broadway stars were Tim Curry, Ian McKellen and Jane Seymour.

by Anonymousreply 260March 11, 2023 11:36 PM

Tom Hulce = clown.

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by Anonymousreply 261March 11, 2023 11:36 PM

R246, TCM showed Last Of The Mobile Hot Shots a few years ago. I couldn't make it past 30 minutes. It's quite terrible.

by Anonymousreply 262March 11, 2023 11:52 PM

Tom HUlse was nominated for an Oscar. Why didn't he seem to have much of a career after that?

by Anonymousreply 263March 11, 2023 11:54 PM

^ Because clownishness may be attractive in youth but sad in middle age.

by Anonymousreply 264March 11, 2023 11:55 PM

R264 He was playing a role. One role. You get that, right?

by Anonymousreply 265March 11, 2023 11:57 PM

The ending of the Last of the Mobile Hot-shots has a major plot twist that is the exact opposite of the play the Seven Descents of Myrtle.

by Anonymousreply 266March 12, 2023 4:36 PM

Paul Newman was a lousy actor, but he was rarely worse than in "cat".

by Anonymousreply 267March 12, 2023 10:53 PM

R267, it's a fact.

by Anonymousreply 268March 13, 2023 3:29 AM

Newman was hardly a "lousy" actor.

by Anonymousreply 269March 13, 2023 6:38 PM

R269 didn't see "THE SILVER CHALICE". Good for Paul that he was pretty and could suck a mean dick, because between that, "CAT" and "SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME" it's a miracle he had a career at all

by Anonymousreply 270March 13, 2023 10:12 PM

R270 Yes I saw The Silver Chalice. (His first film role. A terrible film. Who exactly was good in that? PN took out an ad apologizing for his performance). He had already done some better roles on TV and the stage. Did you see The Hustler?

by Anonymousreply 271March 14, 2023 2:03 AM

Paul Newman was beautiful in "The Long, Hot Summer".

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by Anonymousreply 272March 14, 2023 5:12 AM

R272 he was full on beefcake in that role...they didn't even try to be subtle about it...pretty risque for a 50's film.

by Anonymousreply 273March 14, 2023 5:37 AM

[quote] he was full on beefcake in that

You could tell that before every scene a bevy of make-up girls coated him with imitation sweat from their puffer-spray bottles over his made-up tanned torso.

by Anonymousreply 274March 14, 2023 6:40 AM

He was a bit over 5' 9, somewhat slight, but with nice, slender muscles. Orson Welles (as Woodward and Lee Remick's father) calls Ben Quick (Newman) a "big stud horse" but he wasn't very big.

by Anonymousreply 275March 14, 2023 8:13 PM

"Isn't that what love is, using people? And maybe that's what hate is..not being able to use people."

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by Anonymousreply 276June 23, 2023 12:05 AM

Not a play, but I loved the book and the film adaptation of Williams’ “The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone”, Anyone else appreciate it?

by Anonymousreply 277June 23, 2023 12:21 AM

Love Mrs Stone. Vivian Leigh was perfect. Beatty was gorgeous - but not right for the role. The woman who plays the pimp is fabulous. Amazing how forward it was - like so much of TWs work.

by Anonymousreply 278June 23, 2023 2:36 PM

R278. “That woman” is the legendary Lotte Lenta, foremost interpreter of Kurt Weill (as well as his wife), and received a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the performance. Tough year—other nominees were Judy for Judgment at Nuremberg (should have won), Una Merkel for Summer and Smike (her only nomination), Fay Bainter for The Children’s Hour (a fine wintry performance by a great character actress), and the eventual winner, Rita Moreno who was swept along with the juggernaut of WSS (some of her singing was dubbed), along with George Chakiris, who at least was hot.

by Anonymousreply 279June 23, 2023 4:45 PM

Love Ava and her maraca boys in Night of the Iguana!

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by Anonymousreply 280June 23, 2023 4:47 PM

I disagree with whoever put down "The Fugitive Kind" Lots of eyeliner, regrets, and screaming, so it's great!

by Anonymousreply 281August 3, 2023 6:58 PM

I caught Night of the Iguana on TCM the other day. Hadn’t seen it in years. Kerr, as I remembered, was wonderful, and Grayson Hall a hoot (surprising the Academy thought to recognize it with a nomination—a tough year with Moorehead expected to win, Kedrova deservedly winning, and Edith Evans and Gladys Cooper to class up the joint). What I was impressed with this time was Miss Ava Gardner’s great Maxine—gritty, real, emotional—probably her best performance (she herself didn’t think she was much of an actress, but I always enjoy her). I worship Bette Davis, but I suspect she’d been away from the stage too long not to make her Maxine forced (I gather Shelley Winters was considered much more successful in the role—this was before she descended into self-parody). Burton gives exactly the performance you expect him to give-intelligent, world-weary, occasionally hammy. The small roles (especially the other teachers) are very well-cast.

by Anonymousreply 282August 4, 2023 12:20 AM

Another vote for Night of the Iguana.

by Anonymousreply 283August 8, 2023 5:21 AM

Joanne Woodward is not a dyke, and I'm the dame who can prove it!

by Anonymousreply 284August 8, 2023 5:31 AM

[quote] "I like "Suddenly Last Summer" for Hepburn. But Liz is just not a good actress, certainly over-parted here. It needed Joanne Woodward (as did Cat)."

I love this suggestion, R6!

by Anonymousreply 285August 8, 2023 6:33 AM

There needs to be more love for "Boom!" on this thread.

"Shit on your mother!" -- Sissy Goforth

by Anonymousreply 286August 8, 2023 7:16 AM

Other than Taylor's costumes, the fabulous set, and a fun scene between Taylor and Noel Coward, BOOM is a real slog. Burton's performance doesn't even qualify as phoning it in.

by Anonymousreply 287August 8, 2023 7:34 PM

Boom! 💣💣💣

by Anonymousreply 288August 11, 2023 4:22 AM

Streetcar, only.

by Anonymousreply 289August 14, 2023 4:18 AM

Has anyone seen the Woodward GLASS MENAGERIE, directed by Newman? I would imagine she'd make a fine Amanda, though Malkovich as Tom might be a bit much.

I tried watching a TV version of MENAGERIE with Shirley Booth that was on TCM a year or so ago. It was pretty awful, with everyone giving stage performances on screen.

by Anonymousreply 290August 18, 2023 10:49 PM

I never lied in my heart!!

by Anonymousreply 291November 12, 2023 1:06 AM

[quote] I don’t think they had chemistry together at all. In fact Newman was always a cold screen presence and never convincingly seems passionate about any of his co-stars

Ditto in Hud. Too much smirking at his reflection in the camera, not enough acting.

by Anonymousreply 292November 12, 2023 2:12 AM

R290 Yes I saw it on the big screen. It was good.

I loved Taylor in Suddenly, Last Summer. I thought she was the best thing in it.

by Anonymousreply 293November 12, 2023 3:03 AM

I love Williams’ most famous plays: “The Glass Menagerie,” “Streetcar,” “Cat,” “Iguana,” even “Suddenly, Last Summer” are a mixture of extreme poetic stylization and artifice with a kind of naturalism. They read wonderfully, the rhythm of the dialogue can sound like an incantation. And somehow buried in those plays are some home truths about being human and about how people hurt and help each other through life. I think they’re wonderful.

by Anonymousreply 294November 12, 2023 4:28 AM

Am I the only one who doesn’t care for Geraldine Page?

by Anonymousreply 295November 13, 2023 10:29 PM

Heavens no R295, multiple people have lampooned her hammy film acting on multiple threads. In some ways she works in "Sweet Bird of Youth" because she is believeable as a blousy old ham.

by Anonymousreply 296November 13, 2023 11:08 PM

R295 You’re not. I don’t think I ever thought she was hammy, I just didn’t care for her annoying voice. I don’t mind her in the old John Wayne western, Hondo. I think she’s pretty good in it. Supposedly, though, she didn’t bathe enough, and had to be told to.

by Anonymousreply 297November 15, 2023 2:09 AM

I finally got around to warming Night of the Iguana. John Huston was a surprisingly good fit to direct Williams. I loved the look of it. And I liked most of the acting—Burton, Kerr, Grayson Hall, Sue Lyon. But unlike everyone else here I thought Gardner was really hammy. I did like her beach boys, though.

by Anonymousreply 298November 20, 2023 1:51 AM

Watching, not warming.

by Anonymousreply 299November 20, 2023 1:54 AM

R290. Booth was not happy with her performance in that. You’d think Amanda would be a great role for, but she’s far from her best in it.

by Anonymousreply 300November 20, 2023 2:05 AM

I would not think Amanda would be a great role for her.

by Anonymousreply 301November 20, 2023 5:09 AM

R298 Kerr’s acting was so strong it elevated the performances of others. The scene where Gardner’s character explodes “I realize you’re a DEADBEAT!…using that dying’ old man as a FRONT!.. Draggin’ him around like a Chinese beggar!” shows Kerr’s timing and response. I really admire her performance in this film. And Grayson Hall’s. Great casting.

by Anonymousreply 302November 24, 2023 2:46 AM
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