Sweet Bird of Youth Reviews

Page 1 of 5
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2011
Sweet Bird of Youth is structured like a resurrection tale. Chance Wayne is thrown into all types of abasement, dragged this way and that, beaten to a bloody pulpy (figuratively, of course), and finally rises from the ashes, a new man.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2010
Very underrated and a great story about vanity and the drawbacks of Hollywood. Paul Newman delivers his usual knockout performance, creating a very lovable and fun character that is also very realistic and heart felt. There's also a lot of other great performances thrown in, including Rip Torn as a deranged redneck out for blood. The story is so well put together by the greatest playwright to ever live, Tennessee Williams. I think the love story is so well done and put together in such a tragic way that the end result nearly drains you. The movie itself is really well put together and has some really beautiful sets and shots.
Super Reviewer
April 24, 2014
Newman does Tennessee Williams very well and he does tremendously well in Sweet Bird of Youth. He is the ultimate hustler who meets obstacles that he can't overcome. Brilliant.
May 13, 2012
Paul Newman and especially Geraldine Page shine in this lesser-known Tennessee Williams yarn. One of the most provocative films taken from Williams' plays, "Sweet Bird of Youth" isn't quite on the same level as "A Streetcar Named Desire" (few films are, really), but it is a gem in its own right.
May 19, 2011
For my money, the best film adaptation of a Tennessee Williams' play. There's not much to fault with. Geraldine Page, Paul Newman, and Shirley Knight are excellent in their roles. Exceptional note should be taken of Ed Begley, Sr. and Rip Torn in their roles of Boss Finley and Tom Finley, Jr. They reek of evil and take frightening control of each scene they are in. All without benefit of special effects.
½ September 20, 2010
Newman is awesome in this drama but I had trouble with all the anger and angst... It seemed overdone at times.
March 10, 2010
86/100. Geraldine Page gives one of the best performances of her illustrious career, if not her best. Paul Newman is magnificent, among his best five performances. The supporting cast is amazing. Madeleine Sherwood is incredible. Shirley Knight, Ed Begley, Rip Torn and Mildred Dunnock all deliver. Tennessee Williams can be a downer, but he also rights some powerful stuff, although this varies quite a bit from the book. Intense, extremely well produced in every aspect. Ed Begley won an Oscar, Page and Knight were nominated. Richard Brooks superbly directs the film with flair and style.
½ January 26, 2010
A really gripping drama actually, with fantastic characters each driven by their own personal and unique selfishness.
February 23, 2008
Paul Newman and especially Geraldine Page shine in this lesser-known Tennessee Williams yarn. One of the most provocative films taken from Williams' plays, "Sweet Bird of Youth" isn't quite on the same level as "A Streetcar Named Desire" (few films are, really), but it is a gem in its own right.
½ November 7, 2010
Brooks' direction seems a little too stolid for all the sleazy, flaming passions. These are, however, given full measure by an excellent cast.
½ January 5, 2014
Richard Brooks is to blame for all that is wrong with this film adaptation. Both Paul Newman and Geraldine Page are exceptional. Sadly, they bring more to the roles than the adaptation calls for.
March 3, 2013
Geraldine Page's acting is on par with an actress who wasn't informed her audition had ended.

It's the first film I've seen, that Newman wasn't able to carry.
February 10, 2013
I'm for loose government, loose money, and loose women.

Chance Wayne has had many jobs, but never his dream job. Chance is an aspiring actor who hopes to one day land his big break; well, he hasn't been lucky finding the right opportunity and returns home with a alcoholic former movie star he hopes will help him earn his big break. Chance is a playboy, He doesn't really love the movie star and is using her, like most people in his life. Will Chance ever earn his big break or will his methods catch up to him?

"I don't understand you."
"I don't expect you to."

Richard Brooks, director of Fever Pitch, Bite the Bullet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Elmer Gantry, Battle Circus, Crisis, and Flame and the Flesh, delivers Sweet Bird of Youth. The storyline for this picture is interesting and a bit methodical. The pace is kind of slow but the acting is amazing. Newman delivers a powerful performance and the cast also includes Geraldine Page, Shirley Knight, Rip Torn, and Barry Cahill.

"What are you laughing at?"
"Nothing."
"Only idiots laugh at nothing."

I came across this film while scrolling through Turner Classic Movie's (TCM) upcoming television schedule. I was surprised that I had never heard of this Newman gem. I found this film fairly entertaining, a bit depressing, and a fairly slow. The story itself is excellent and contains wonderful characters; but overall, while it tells an interesting tale it is far from my favorite Tennessee Williams story or Newman picture.

"There is no easy way to the top."

Grade: B+
½ December 18, 2012
Tennessee Williams' best plays always feature a sexually-frustrated man or woman in the South. Period. While his best remains to be "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", this adaptation of "Sweet Bird of Youth" still is entertaining. Though the censors of the time diminish much of the controversial topics that made it exciting on Broadway, nothing-less it plays like a nice dish of melodrama, which isn't always a bad thing. Chance Wayne (Paul Newman) is a hustling gigolo who dreams of making it big in Hollywoodland, so decides to seduce aging screen queen Alexandra Del Lago (Geraldine Page) to win a contract. Coincidentally, the odd couple are in Wayne's hometown, where Wayne's old sweetheart (and still first love) Heavenly (Shirley Knight) is pregnant with his child. Her father Boss Finley (Ed Begley) makes it so the two can never meet again. "Sweet Bird of Youth" is mostly a film that showcases its actors, but for the most part, there's moments of brilliance that you can't deny. Richard Brooks, who also adapted "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" once again directs with style, and though the screenplay he penned was forced to pass over the taboos of the day, it still captures the absorbing characters meant to challenge our opinions. Setting everything aside though, the acting is superb, and frankly, is the only reason to see the film. Newman takes the role he played on stage and of course subtly captures his complex character, while Knight is sensitive but serious, but the real scene-stealer is Page, who overacts to the heights of Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond but still captures the "fading Hollywood legend" character with grace. The film never goes into detail about her stardom, which was a big mistake, but Page's performance is so brilliant that you'll forget you have doubts as you watch. "Sweet Bird of Youth" may not be the best film in the Tennessee Williams adaptation cannon, but it's still worth a look.
October 1, 2011
Great script, great film, great acting, and seemingly quite progressive for its time... but let down by the tacky incoherent Hollywood ending!
June 6, 2011
Sweet Bird of Youth is a stellar film. It is about a drifter who returns to his hometown after trying to make in the movies. Paul Newman and Geraldine Page give amazing performances. The screenplay is well written and kept me interested. Richard Brooks did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed this motion picture because of the drama. Sweet Bird of Youth is highly recommended.
January 26, 2011
Y'know that thing, when you're watching a movie and you gotta pee,
but you're waiting for a slow part? ... yeah ...
You're gonna bust a gut on this one.
Newman is at his sexiest rogue best
and Ms Page a deliciously vixen kitten;
together they generate a crackling heat with the kind of dialogue that litters quotable gems like lingerie on a bordello laundry-room floor.
Other story elements of social and political relevance also sparkle with the biting repartee of elegantly desperate people.
That's my fav aspect of this film.
Everyone, as befits the comportment of the times,
presents the epitome of elegance on the outside,
and the most profound desperation inside
Chance Wayne treads the finest line between the evil and the pure in him until his only freedom from desperation beats him to the saddest happy ending ever.
December 14, 2010
Y'know that thing, when you're watching a movie and you gotta pee, but you're waiting for a slow part?
... yeah ...
You're gonna bust a gut on this one ...
Newman is at his sexiest rogue best
and Ms Page a deliciously vixen kitten;
together they generate a crackling heat with the kind of dialogue that litters quotable gems like lingerie on a bordello laundry-room floor.
Other story elements of social and political relevance also sparkle with the biting repartee of elegantly desperate people.
That's my fav aspect of this film.
Everyone, as befits the comportment of the times,
presents the epitome of elegance on the outside, and the most profound deperation inside.
Chance Wayne treads the finest line between the evil and the pure in him until his only freedom from desperation beats him to the saddest happy ending ever.
March 10, 2010
86/100. Geraldine Page gives one of the best performances of her illustrious career, if not her best. Paul Newman is magnificent, among his best five performances. The supporting cast is amazing. Madeleine Sherwood is incredible. Shirley Knight, Ed Begley, Rip Torn and Mildred Dunnock all deliver. Tennessee Williams can be a downer, but he also rights some powerful stuff, although this varies quite a bit from the book. Intense, extremely well produced in every aspect. Ed Begley won an Oscar, Page and Knight were nominated. Richard Brooks superbly directs the film with flair and style.
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