The Glass Menagerie (1950)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
The Glass Menagerie Photos
as Laura Wingfield
as Gentleman Caller
as Amanda Wingfield
as Tom Wingfield
as Young Man
as Woman Instructor
as Mrs. Miller
as Miss Porter
as A Girl
Critic Reviews for The Glass Menagerie
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The Glass Menagerie has a lot going for it, even if director Irving Rapper (Now, Voyager) misses several opportunities to take the characters deeper.
Audience Reviews for The Glass Menagerie
The only film adaptation of the play with which Williams himself was involved, "The Glass Menagerie" plays the comedy unusually light, often sidestepping or de-escalating the moments of conflict and heartbreak, even going so far as to change the ending to make it more upbeat. What's surprising is how much of it works. Arthur Kennedy gives an expert performance as Tom, and the whole cast is solid (even if Kirk Douglas feels a bit miscast--he lobbied for the role in an effort to change his image, and he does fine work, but is strangely unconvincing as the gentleman caller). Williams', co-writer Peter Berneis', and director Irving Rapper's choices to expand the story beyond the confines of the Wingfield's home make for an interesting, if uneven, experiment (and it's interesting to note that Williams originally pitched the story as a film before losing his studio job and writing it as a play); the reaction shots of Gertrude Lawrence's Amanda, in particular, are a pretty glaring misstep, and, except for a brief argument with his boss, Tom is unusually amiable and cheerful in most of his scene at the warehouse that is supposed to make him envy dead people. Still, the performances are good, and, while Rapper never really makes his "Menagerie" cohesive, there are more than merely sporadic flashes of the beauty and bittersweetness and vulnerability that have made the play one of the classics of the American stage. Essential for fans of the title and playwright, and an interesting and mostly very engaging piece of film history for anyone else.
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