Suddenly, Last Summer 1959

Suddenly, Last Summer

Critics Consensus

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65%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,815

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Movie Info

In this adaptation of Tennessee Williams' play, young socialite Catherine Holly (Elizabeth Taylor) is traumatized and committed after witnessing her cousin's violent death on a trip to Europe. Her aunt, Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn), wants to hide the events of her son's death and attempts to bribe young surgeon Dr. John Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift) to perform a lobotomy on Catherine. But John vows to find out the truth about Catherine's state before taking any action.

Cast & Crew

Elizabeth Taylor
Catherine Holly
Montgomery Clift
Dr. Cukrowicz
Albert Dekker
Dr. Hockstader
Gene Raymond
George Holly
Mavis Villiers
Miss Foxhill
Joan Young
Sister Felicity
Malcolm Arnold
Original Music
Jack Hildyard
Cinematographer
William Hornbeck
Film Editor
Thomas Stanford
Film Editor
Oliver Messel
Production Design
William Kellner
Art Direction
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Critic Reviews for Suddenly, Last Summer

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (7)

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

    March 23, 2011 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top 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…
  • It has some very effective moments, but on the whole it fails to move.

    October 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top 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…
    Time Out
    Top 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 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • This is the best film adaptation of Tennessee Williams' oeuvre. A prodigious work from Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift, and Elizabeth Taylor. This is one of Joseph L. Mankiewicz's best films. [Full Review in Spanish]

    August 8, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Suddenly, Last Summer

  • May 03, 2015
    A psychologist investigates the emotional problems of a woman who returned from a deadly vacation. Tennessee Williams's odd parable comes to life in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's adaptation. Featuring very strong performances by two legendary actresses (Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn), the film delights in its stage play source material. However, what's weird about the play is the same problem with the film. We all know what happened during the summer, but Williams's time prevents him from really telling us, and Mankiewicz's time prevents him from showing us. All this obfuscating makes the film a challenge (sometimes challenges are good), but even so, Mankiewicz's flashbacks must walk the perfect line between showing us too much and showing us too little; sadly, at separate times, it's both. Overall, this is a very strong adaptation of a difficult play.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 15, 2014
    Another fantastic adaptation of Tennessee Williams on the big screen. Elizabeth Taylor once again does Williams justice tremendously and she always plays off of her friend Monty Clift very well.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 16, 2012
    Wonderful text, wonderful performances but the whole film turns out as sluggish and too theatrical. The story is a bit over-the-top but the poetic dialogue sustains it's coherence.
    George M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    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.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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