Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

1958

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 35

92%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 31,705
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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Photos

Movie Info

Based on a play by Tennessee Williams, this intense, absorbing drama centers on a wealthy Southern family. Though he doesn't know it, the family father is slowly dying of cancer. However, the other family members are well aware of his imminent demise and have their eyes on his fortune.

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Cast

Paul Newman
as Brick Pollitt
Elizabeth Taylor
as Maggie Pollitt
Burl Ives
as Big Daddy Pollitt
Jack Carson
as Gooper Pollitt
Judith Anderson
as Big Mama Pollitt
Madeleine Sherwood
as Mae Pollitt
Larry Gates
as Dr. Baugh
Vaughan Taylor
as Deacon Davis
Patty Ann Gerrity
as Dixie Pollitt
Rusty Stevens
as Sonny Pollitt
Hugh Corcoran
as Buster Pollitt
Deborah Miller
as Trixie Pollitt
Brian Corcoran
as Boy Pollitt
Tony Merrill
as Party Guest
Jeane Wood
as Party Guest
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Critic Reviews for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (5)

  • A formaldehyded tabby that sits static while layer after layer of its skin is peeled off, life after life of its nine lives unsentimentally destroyed.

    Oct 1, 2008 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • An intense, important motion picture.

    Apr 8, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Burl Ives and Judith Anderson are highly entertaining as the nightmare parents, Big Daddy and Big Mama, and Jack Carson has one of his last good roles as Newman's competitive older brother.

    Apr 8, 2008 | Full Review…
  • As so often with adaptations of Williams, it frequently errs on the side of overstatement and pretension, but still remains immensely enjoyable as a piece of cod-Freudian codswallop.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • What a pack of trashy people these accomplished actors perform!

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Superbly acted, and following the Kazan-inspired happy ending third act written as a rather reluctant postscript, rather than the original original, it is a photographed stage play and we remain outside, in the audience.

    Jul 20, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

  • Mar 12, 2017
    Solid film making with nary a wasted breath ... well, almost. There's a lot of dramatic pauses and hemming and hawing at the top, but once this rollercoaster gets going the going is good. And Liz Taylor when it hurt your eyes to look at her glory.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2016
    Paul Newman looks like a Greek God in this film, and Elizabeth Taylor is no slouch herself. The combination of his blue eyes and her violet eyes alone make this film worth at least something. Personally though, I think it's overrated - reasonably good, but far from great. Tennessee Williams' play is a brilliant portrait of a family fractured by frustrations, alcohol, unfulfilled dreams, and sorrow. The adaptation suffers from removal of references to homosexuality, an important part of the story, and by the addition of 'feel good' elements in the ending which I disliked (as did Williams and Newman). It also suffers from emotional fire in the performances. Williams' words are there (at least sometimes, and minus profanity), but they're not always delivered with the intensity they deserve. If you want to see Taylor really deliver, watch 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', which is night and day better. Even in diluted form, the story is still compelling, but I think you'd be better off reading (or seeing) the play.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 24, 2015
    I recently read this play for college, so I figured I might as well watch the film since it was nominated for so many Oscars back in the day and had such big stars in it. I was pretty disappointed to find that this adaption is lacking some of the elements that make the play compelling. The acting is inconsistent with really only Elizabeth Taylor impressing me really. Paul Newman and Burl Ives both got acclaim for their portrayals, but I didn't find them to be anything special. The film doesn't have very good pacing either. I was very disappointed to find the homosexuality elements completely eliminated because it made the story really intriguing and gave it an element of surprise that is lacking in this film. It does get the relationship between Big Daddy and Brick right and I genuinely liked their conversations, but not much else impressed me. Elizabeth Taylor had her breakout role and I thought she was really good in this, but it could have been better.
    Josh L Super Reviewer
  • Apr 26, 2012
    "There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity"! Melodrama is probably my favorite genre of film. Don't ask me why but when I'm watching a dramatic or theatrical circumstance unfold through my very eyes; I experience a thrill of ecstasy coursing throughout my veins, roused and ready, I feel like I'm about to explode. With that vivid vision in your mind; the one million dollar question is why exactly did I not relish Richard Brook's take of the exceedingly dramatic, mendacitic, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"? Well, nobody particularly seemed quite at his or her best here; not the writer, not the director, nor the performers. This is not a horrible movie by any means but it clearly is full of mendacity. [IMG]http://img832.imageshack.us/img832/3352/fullcatonahottinroofdsc.jpg[/IMG] The dramatic tale begans with Burl Ives as Big Daddy, a blustering, no-nonsense, kitted out plantation owner who carved his empire out of a swamp. Nobody says anything to him without prefacing the statement with, "Big Daddy," as if to get his attention (Anyone caught the "Golden Girls" Blanche Devereaux reference). Paul Newman and wife Maggie, Elizabeth Taylor, are visiting the Big House to celebrate Big Daddy's birthday along with his return from the clinic, where he, Big Daddy, that is, has been told his pain is caused only by a spastic colon when in fact it's terminal cancer. Also in attendance at the festivities are Big Daddy's wife, Agnes Moorehead, whom he has never loved, and Big Daddy's other son, Jack Carson, who along with his wife is sniffing after all of Big Daddy's money and property. [IMG]http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/8985/catonahottinroof.jpg[/IMG] There is a profuse amount of shouting; hardly anyone speaks in a normal tone of voice. The viewer hardly has time to draw a breath. Newman puts away enough booze in the first ten minutes to floor a rhinoceros. Williams gets hung up on the word "mendacity." "There is the smell of mendacity in this room!" yells Burl Ives. Of course, in reality, social life is a tissue of lies. (Try it next time someone greets you with, "How are you?") But I'm grateful for the constant references to "mendacity." It's almost amusing. And it does provide about the only theme that organizes this carousel of a story. Newman obviously hadn't yet got his acting chops as he is sullen and wooden throughout. Ultimately he was a miscast; the fact he supposedly plays the role of a miserable alcoholic yet looks unchangeably sober and impeccably healthy is a tad ridiculous. It's fair to say he didn't succeed in portraying the compulsion to drink, the nihilist decay, the uptight despair to his part (Marlon Brando in my opinion would have nailed this role, but oh well). Taylor is at least somewhat competent and her supernatural beauty is always helpful. If your central appeal in life is watching an old-lunatic shouting "he smells mendacity" at every living thing, Burl Ives is your man. Jack Carson gives no evidence of being a dramatic actor, but then the script renders him thoroughly obnoxious, he has a terrible habit. Carson is tall and when he's speaking to someone shorter he has a tendency to lean sideways and thrust his face upwards into the listener's. His wife is plays a decent stereotype and their five children should be stomped on like roaches. Agnes Moorehead's role, though not central, may be the most pathetic in the film; a woman who loves her husband but has no idea he doesn't give a damn about her, oh the 50's and its logic. [IMG]http://img36.imageshack.us/img36/5651/catonahottinroofclassic.jpg[/IMG] Some of the issues are pretty dated too (not to mention the overall film itself does not age too well), though that doesn't necessarily deprive them of impact. Doctors don't keep the truth from their patients anymore. And when Big Daddy asks Maggie, "Let me put it this way; do you make him happy?", and Maggie answers, "Why don't you ask if he keeps me happy?" it's all code for something else that couldn't be openly asked in the 1950s. All the hysterical running around and bellowing (of the smell of mendacity) just gave me a headache that I eventually soothed with two pills of ibuprofen. It only settled slightly Lizzie Taylor was marauding around the bedroom wearing only a tiny-cloth. In the end, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is disappointing because it's glitzy when it should have been grim and just repetitive when it should have been compulsive. [IMG]http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/3594/pdvd089.jpg[/IMG] Story: C Acting: C+ Direction: C Visuals: A- Overall: C+ ** out of 4 stars
    Matthew R Super Reviewer

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