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Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

tomatometer

20

Average Rating: 4/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 6,661

My Rating

Movie Info

In this lush, lurid adaptation of the 1957 Tennessee Williams one-act, Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn play a seemingly insane, young New Orleans debutante and the wealthy aunt who wants to lobotomize her. Dr. John Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift) is a gifted Chicago brain surgeon stymied by the primitive operating conditions at the New Orleans asylum where he works. Society matron Violet Venable (Hepburn) offers a solution in the form of a million-dollar grant -- as long as Cukrowicz will

Aug 15, 2000

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (5) | DVD (1)

The main trouble with the picture is not its subject or its style, but its length.

March 23, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The cast packs enough sexual ambiguity to satisfy the most rabid Williams fan (not to mention a screenplay by Gore Vidal), but Mankiewicz leaves much of the innuendo unexplored -- thankfully, perhaps.

March 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It has some very effective moments, but on the whole it fails to move.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On film, with Taylor as the woman who saw something nasty and Clift as the psychiatrist trying to probe her trauma, the one-act material is stretched perilously thin; but it works for Hepburn as the incarnation of civilised depravity.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The main trouble with this picture is that an idea that is good for not much more than a blackout is stretched to exhausting length and, for all its fine cast and big direction, it is badly, pretentiously played.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This bizarre and often distasteful movie at the end of the 1950s was an omen of things to come.

March 23, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Superbly adapted with blistering performances from Taylor and Hepburn.

March 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A lurid adaptation of the 1957 Tennessee Williams one-act play.

April 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

By Tennessee Williams' standards, the text is trashy and overwroght, but at the time, homosexuality and cannibalism stirred such a controversy that the movie became one of the playwright's most successful Hollywood adaptations.

July 26, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Very controversial for its time, and still packs a wallop.

October 15, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Hepburn and Taylor both earned Oscar nominations for their work; it's hard to pick which turns in a more compelling performance.

March 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A classic in every sense of the word.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Fine version of the story with Hepburn as a fascinating monster.

April 2, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The battles between the imperious Hepburn and the presumed-mad Taylor are pure theatricality, while sensitive shrink Clift observes it all and emotes.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Somber, ground-breaking and fascinating.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Audience Reviews for Suddenly, Last Summer

While its premise is surely strange, with Taylor's seclusion and her cousin Sebastian's fate up in the air, this film is still wildly entertaining. Hepburn, a seasoned veteran of the screen, takes on the persona of an unfeeling woman cooped up with a misanthrope, different than any other role she has ever undertaken. Clift is personal, but not dodgy, and the chemistry between him and Taylor is palpable.
November 23, 2010
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

This movie is based on a Tennessee Williams play, and is full of drama, intensity, tension, suspense, and sometimes a bit of confusion, but I think it's really a great movie. The cast has big stars, and a great director too. If you like Williams' plays, you should see this movie.
November 19, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Suddenly, last summer, Cathy knew she was being used for something evil!
December 14, 2009
ScoopOnline
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

Elizabeth Taylor is rapidly becoming my favorite 50s actress, and Tennessee Williams my favorite playwright. I think what's always interesting in these play adaptations is the clash between strong women while the seemingly innocent men are caught in the crossfire. But at the same time, the men might be the most immoral of all given that they play witness to this insanity, and are still able to be bought off. Monty Clift always gave me that feeling. As Kim Morgan would say, THOSE EYES! The ending is totally tacked on, also, and you can't shake the feeling that everybody is still slightly insane.
October 18, 2009
jennifxu

Super Reviewer

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