Suddenly, Last Summer

1959

Suddenly, Last Summer

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

65%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,808
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Movie Info

Tennessee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer is a domestic drama concerning homosexuality, insanity and cannibalism. Brain surgeon Montgomery Clift is summoned to the home of fabulously wealthy Katharine Hepburn, who wants to have her daughter-in-law Elizabeth Taylor lobotomized. Recently released from an asylum to Hepburn's care, Taylor suffers from horrific nightmares and unpredictable bursts of violent behavior. As it turns out, Taylor is harboring an awful secret concerning Hepburn's late, beloved son--a secret that Hepburn intends to keep from the world, even at the expense of Taylor's life. The explanatory flashback is as lurid a piece of filmmaking as ever emerged from the supposedly white-bread 1950s. Reportedly, Hepburn so despised Mankiewicz that she spit in the director's eye on the last day of filming.

Cast

Elizabeth Taylor
as Catherine Holly
Katharine Hepburn
as Mrs. Violet Venable
Montgomery Clift
as Dr. John Cukrowicz
Albert Dekker
as Dr. Hockstader
Gary Raymond
as George Holly
Mavis Villiers
as Mrs. Foxhill
Patricia Marmont
as Nurse Benson
Joan Young
as Sister Felicity
Sheila Robbins
as Dr. Hockstader's Secretary
David Cameron
as Young Blonde Intern
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Critic Reviews for Suddenly, Last Summer

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

  • 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…
  • It is hard to know what to say about this misguided tour through the dank recesses of Mr. Williams' subconscious. It's all clearly nonsense, the rankest kind of Victorian melodrama.

    July 12, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Suddenly, Last Summer remains a remarkably salacious descent into madness, thanks to Mankiewicz's harrowing direction and two towering performances by Taylor and Hepburn

    June 4, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • I found Suddenly, Last Summer hollow, unproductive, unalive, and above all stagey, not cinematic.

    July 19, 2018 | Full Review…
  • This bizarre and often distasteful movie at the end of the 1950s was an omen of things to come.

    March 23, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
    TV Guide
    Top Critic
  • Superbly adapted with blistering performances from Taylor and Hepburn.

    March 23, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | 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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