Suddenly, Last Summer

1959

Drama / Mystery / Thriller

159
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 13,573

Synopsis


Downloaded times
December 13, 2020

Cast

Gary Raymond as George Holly
Katharine Hepburn as Christine Forrest
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.02 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
114 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.9 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
114 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by robb_772 10 / 10 / 10

Unsung, surreal masterpiece

Long-fabled as one of the most bizarre films to come out Hollywood during the years of the Production Code's strict enforcement, SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER is a riveting psychological drama that remains absolutely gut-wrenching even after nearly fifty years since it's original release. Screenwriter Gore Vidal takes Tennessee Williams' one-act play and runs with it, fleshing out the central characters and expanding the story's central arc. Vidal had the seemingly impossibly task of taking a tale involving homosexuality, incest, pedophilia, and even cannibalism and presenting it all in a manner that would be acceptable to the rigid Production Code, yet still coherent to the average film audience. Not only did Vidal succeed victoriously, but the slightly ambiguous nature of the film's climax and denouncement actually makes the twice as unsettling and disturbing. With relatively few characters to populate the story the performances are absolutely crucial, and the tight-knit cast delivers the goods in spades. Long after many of her acting contemporaries of the thirties and forties had been forgotten, Katharine Hepburn continued to reign supreme on the silver screen and her sublime performance as the manipulative and cunning Mrs. Venable ranks among Hepburn's best work of the decade. The wounded vulnerability of a post-car accident Montgomery Clift serves him well in a difficult role as the middle man between the film's leading ladies, and the still-handsome actor provides a humane, completely genuine performance that supplies viewers with level-headed window into the off-kilter story. Albert Dekker, Mercedes McCambridge and Gary Raymond also excel in minor roles. The film's biggest surprise, however, is the exceptional portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor in the film's central performance. Although usually somewhat of an uneven actress, Taylor completely nails a dauntingly difficult role in a complex, multilayered performance that deservedly won her a Golden Globe Award as well as her third consecutive Oscar nomination. During the film's climatic revelation, Taylor lets out a series of bone-chilling screams that I could never imagine coming out of any other actress. Not only does it remain Taylor's finest performance (which is a considerable achievement when one considers that WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF is also on her resume), but it is also a performance that simply could not be bettered. Although perhaps he could never surpass 1949's A LETTER TO THREE WIVES or 1950's ALL ABOUT EVE in the eyes of most viewers, SUMMER contains some of the finest work of director Joseph L. Mankiewicz' legendary career. Brilliantly combining southern Gothicism with straight-faced psychodrama and even grandiose horror, Mankiewicz stitches the various seemingly disparate threads together in a harrowing, yet perversely satisfying whole. Even the lengthy, sometimes criticized flashback sequence is an absolute tour de force of film-making that leaves viewers emotionally exhausted as one experiences the on screen turmoil more than simply watching it. An often unheralded classic, the film remains of the most sorely underrated films of its era.

Reviewed by jotix100 7 / 10 / 10

Suddenly, last summer in Cabeza de Lobo

"Suddenly, Last Summer" was perhaps Tennessee Williams most autobiographical play. Mr. Williams never forgave his mother for letting his sister Rose undergo a lobotomy to "cure" her anxiety problems, something that he dealt with in this work, as well. As a play, this was done Off-Broadway, something unheard in those days about the work of one of last century's best regarded playwright. It proved to be a great artistic success for the author, even with a cast of non stars in it. In fact, "Suddenly, Last Summer" was paired with a shorter play, "Something Unspoken", under the title "Garden District". Joseph L. Mankiewicz, one of the best directors and writers that ever worked in Hollywood, undertook the direction of Gore Vidal's screen adaptation. In a way, it must have been a daring decision to bring it to the movies, since the play speaks about things that in the theater it could get away with, but in the movies, a different medium, and with the censure of those years, not even a distinguished team as the one assembled here, could get away with a movie that seemed to be years ahead of its time. The film is set in 1937. If you haven't seen the film, please stop reading here. We meet young doctor Cukrowicz at the start of the film as he is about to perform a lobotomy on one of the patients in the public hospital, where the lights go out during the operation. The ambitious director, Dr. Hockstader, wants to send the young doctor to talk to Mrs. Violet Venable, one of the richest ladies in New Orleans, because she is interested in donating money toward a hospital's improvements, with the caveat that her young niece, Catherine, undergoes the operation. Evidently, she has been "babbling" all kinds of nonsense and has been diagnosed suffering from schizophrenia. What Mrs. Venable doesn't tell the young doctor is the reason why her niece is acting in such a strange manner. During the visit, she speaks of her dead young son, Sebastian, who died tragically, suddenly, last summer of a heart attack. Violet doesn't go into details, but it seems there is much more to the story than she tells Dr. Cuckrowicz. Mrs. Venable talks about her summer trips with Sebastian and the horrible experience she had in the Galapagos watching the young turtles rushing to the sea falling prey to the predatory black birds that seem to cloud the sky. That there's something more, is clearly noticed by the young doctor when he meets Catherine, the lovely young woman being kept in another hospital's mental ward. Catherine comes across as quite sane, which poses a moral dilemma for the Cukrowicz, who is under pressure to rush Catherine's lobotomy. Since he has so many doubts and in trying to see what's wrong with the girl, he hears about how Catherine and Violet have served as procurers to the late Sebastian. The climax comes as a family reunion in which Dr. Cukrowicz gathers in the Venable mansion's patio all the people involved in the case. It is in this setting that he is able to extract from Catherine's memory what she has kept bottled up there. In a sequence that plays as a film within Catherine's mind, we watch the horrors this young woman went through when the situation gets out of hand between Sebastian and the young men of Cabeza de Lobo, where they had spent part of their vacation. Tennessee Williams, the playwright, and Gore Vidal, the adapter, both spent time in Italy. It's somehow disorienting that Catherine is talking about Amalfi and changes to another location, the scene of what appears to be the martyrdom of Sebastian, paralleling the life of the saint of the same name, to Cabeza de Lobo, which sounds more as being set in Spain than in Italy. Nevertheless, these starving children Sebastian lures to him by using his gorgeous cousin in revealing swimsuit, are key to what happens to him in that shocking day. Katherine Hepburn is about the best thing in the film. She plays a refined and dignified wealthy New Orleans matron with great assurance. Ms. Hepburn gave an understated performance showing a restraint that with some other actress might have develop into caricature. Her Mrs. Venable is a woman whose sorrow for the lost of the son knows no bounds and is trying to shut up the only person that knows the truth about what really happened to him. Elizabeth Taylor makes an invaluable contribution to the film with her luminous portrayal of Catherine. She was seen in the film at the height of her beauty and youth. Ms. Taylor, in one of her best appearances in any film, is convincing as the young woman who has been traumatized by what she had witnessed that fateful summer. Montgomery Clift, who has the lesser part of Dr. Cukrowicz, does what he can with his role. Mercedes McCambridge, on the other hand is perfect as the ambitious poor relative without scruples, who will do anything to receive the crumbs of her richer relative and couldn't care what happens to her daughter. This film was ahead of its times and still packs a lot of power because of the direction of Mr. Mankiewicz and his stellar cast.

Reviewed by Doylenf 7 / 10 / 10

(POSSIBLE SPOILER)...Gothic decadence gives Taylor and Hepburn striking roles...

While the symbolism here is about as heavy as a sledgehammer, it's offered in such artfully poetic style that only writers of the caliber of Tennessee Williams and Gore Vidal could give us. What they have done is provide KATHARINE HEPBURN with a role that fits her like a glove and where her mannered acting sits comfortably on a role she was born to play. She is totally mesmerizing as Mrs. Venable, a woman who has lavished all her hopes and dreams on her only son only to have them all swept away on a brutal summer day, "suddenly, last summer", under the hot Mediteranean sun. She gets to spout the most poetic dialog in the film, with ELIZABETH TAYLOR not far behind, especially during their frequent monologues. This leaves MONTGOMERY CLIFT, as a surgeon who is asked to perform a lobotomy on Miss Taylor, hovering in the background and looking like a frightened sparrow most of the time, although it is he who uncovers the truth about last summer. Mr. Clift must have been at a difficult phase of his own personal life because he performs in a stiff, robot-like manner that makes him seem dubious as a skilled surgeon with steady hands. All of this is highly melodramatic as only Tennessee Williams can muster, while at the same time affording us the luxury of watching two commanding performances from Hepburn and Taylor that were justifiably nominated for Oscars. The tale seems burdened by too much heavy-handed poetry but somehow it holds the attention because of the forceful acting by a fine cast. Mercedes McCambridge is a standout as Taylor's mother in the sort of fluttery, birdbrain role one might suspect would be offered to Billie Burke if this had been filmed in the 1940s. By the end of the film, Miss Hepburn is so far removed from reality that she thinks Dr. Sugar (Montgomery Clift) is her son Sebastian and seems more like a candidate for lobotomy than the plucky Miss Taylor. Taylor never quite has the air of vulnerability that the role demands, but she gives a colorful, if strident, performance as the poor victimized girl who was used as bait by her playboy cousin.

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