Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Powerful and the only time I was impressed with Elizabeth Taylor as an actress.
A dark and ponderous drama full of intrigue!
Joseph L. Mankiewicz' psychological melodrama Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) is a faithful adaptation of Tennessee Williams' daring play of the same name. This film is immaculately made with Mankiewicz directing scenes as setup for extended monologues from his brilliant cast. I love how Suddenly, Last Summer really only has like 10 scenes, but they just keep going. Mankiewicz' direction involves heavy use of medium body shots to keep you engaged in characters' body language and facial expressions. I like how it does feel like a play with people mostly talking while someone listens intently. There are many neat choices that make the movie feel more dreamy as you fall into its strange charm.
Tennessee Williams' writing takes on feminist ideas of women believing in themselves, falling in love on their own terms, and speaking their mind. The subject matter is so dark and depressing that you are still shocked by the nihilistic viewpoint that looks into death, loss, lobotomy, rape, cannibalism, and poverty. He writes with a poetic and dreamy style that hits hard in how descriptive he gets within even the most mundane line. Every word is chosen carefully in order to deliver the widest grin or a shocked mouth agape.
Montgomery Clift is remarkable as a patient doctor of good character, who performs lobotomy. His intense eyes stare at a stunning young Elizabeth Taylor in full force. Whereas Clift is the surrogate for the audience to experience these peculiar vernacular. Taylor is highly sympathetic as you know immediately she is more than she appears.
Katharine Hepburn never shuts up as she basically monologues from the Williams play. Hepburn understands dramatic tension .She is lovely and charming until Hepburn is able to leave the viewer with a specific feeling before you ever meet the other characters. She's also one of those fashion forward ladies with a sharp tongue otherwise you'd be surprised what people see in those dramatic play script.
This film adaptation of Tennessee Williams play is one of the true wonders of the 1950's. Hard to imagine that it even got made back then. Brilliant casting with a story so strange even by today's standards—will leave you dazed and unable to forget Tennessee's tale . . . ever!
Suddenly, Last Summer surely is sensational and pretty dated in its pretentious psychology, but it's still an underrated, very intriguing and constantly engaging movie which deals with some very provocative themes for this time period. The mystery is fascinating, the dialogue is tremendous and the cast is terrific with Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn in particular being the acting standouts. It's also well directed, well scored and quite suspenseful in its tone.
Katherine Hepburn floats into view and the film comes to life. A widow who is mourning the loss of her only son, as she meets with a Doctor who specializes in Lobotomies that she is keen on supporting financially, so that he might help lobotomize her neice to help with her delusions. This is just a small taste of the plot that unfolds, but as you can hear, the story being told here is not your run-of-the-mill Hollywood tale, which is both a good and a bad thing.
The film has a very unique story to tell but never goes full throttle in telling that story, pulling too many punches, leaving the viewer to have to fill in the blanks with imagination. I can sort of condone this considering the mystery of the film, which involves uncovering a man's hidden homosexuality, would have been considered taboo in 1959, and wouldn't have lent to being nominated for any Academy Awards.
Speaking of which, both Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor gave Oscar nominated performances and they truly deserve the praise. Taylor plays the neice who is being threatened with a lobotomy for knowing something that she shouldn't, but has no desire to share what she knows. She really shows the inner struggle of coping with her knowledge and the cinematography adds a second layer of Melodrama to her performance. Hepburn does a great job of protraying a delusional mother who's fighting to keep herself ignorant of the actions of her son. The only other main performance, that of Montgomery Cliff, leaves something to be desired. It's not entirely his fault, performing with two powerhouses, and still standing out is not an easy task, plus the screenplay makes most of his dialog a combanation of long strings of questions and him repeating the ends of Taylor's and Hepburn's sentences.
Besides these points, the writing was profoundly witty at times and melodramatic when needed, which is what is expected of a screenplay by Tennessee Williams.
Overall I enjoyed this film, but I think I would have enjoyed it more as a stage play... so long as it still starred Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor... what a sight that would be.
Great acting by Taylor and Hepburn. The film bravely confronts cannibalism in 1959.
"ACTING!!" Great cast. Liz looked marvelous. i only gave it 1.5 stars first time i saw just part of it on tv. Now watching whole thing i'll give it a 4. Cuz Liz looks hot.
"ACTING!!" Overly dramatic, wordy, and overwhelming music. Enuf. Don't let the title fool you, its not a summer romance.
Mankiewicz and Gore Vidal wrote it- phew!
Brooding melodrama with suitably rich performances from Taylor and Hepburn. Great sets and evocative imagery created through the power of speech. They literally don't make them like this anymore.
An interesting story of how SOME Gays seek younger men and go to other countries to get sex from young boys by using their money to take advantage and to groom, ( I mean entice them). It all makes sense to me after working with over 65 gay clients who shared with me their horrible stories of sexual abuse . Sadly It continues today in every city in America where disadvantaged youth are exploited. Williams and Hollywood had it right back in 1959. The truth is dirtier than lies.
Likely better as a stage play, this rendition has several great moments. A treat to see Taylor 'without' makeup.