Suddenly, Last Summer
Dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz. 1959, 114 mins. 35mm. With Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift, Mercedes McCambridge. Melodramas do not get more intense than Joseph Mankiewicz’s Gore Vidal–scripted adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s shocker about a domineering widow, Violet (Hepburn), who wishes to lobotomize her niece, Catherine (Taylor), who has cracked up after bearing witness to something very terrible involving the death of Violet’s son. Clift is the psychiatrist who has come to investigate the bizarre case. It’s bold and brave throughout, and Taylor’s performance ascends to a fever pitch that’s justly famous.
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