Suddenly, Last Summer


Action / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Elizabeth Taylor Photo
Elizabeth Taylor as Catherine Holly
Katharine Hepburn Photo
Katharine Hepburn as Mrs. Venable
Montgomery Clift Photo
Montgomery Clift as Dr. Cukrowicz
Gary Raymond Photo
Gary Raymond as George Holly
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.02 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 54 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.9 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 54 min
P/S 1 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by blanche-28 / 10

good adaptation of Williams play

Katharine Hepburn is a wealthy woman who uses her checkbook in the hopes of having her niece lobotomized in "Suddenly, Last Summer," a 1959 film directed by Joseph Mankiewicz and starring Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift, and Mercedes McCambridge. Hepburn plays Mrs. Venable, whose son, Sebastian, died the previous summer of a heart attack. However, her niece Cathy, who accompanied Sebastian, has had a sort of breakdown and is institutionalized. Mrs. Venable wants Cathy lobotomized. Before doing so, however, the gifted surgeon (Clift),sent there by his boss as Mrs. Venable dangles money for the hospital in front of him, becomes determined instead to find out what happened and how Sebastian really died.

This is a film that would never be made today - it's character-driven and has too much dialogue. It's a shame because the dialogue is excellent. A previous Mankiewicz film, "All About Eve," is word-rich as well, and there the dialogue sparkles. Here it is more poetic. And, like "Eve," the great roles are the womens.

Though references to homosexuality are only inferred, this film and the much more poorly adapted "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" hold up very well today. With homosexuality much more discussed, the role this plays in both plots is very obvious, at least to this viewer. In "Suddenly, Last Summer," Sebastian's proclivities are evident from the beginning as Mrs. Venable describes an almost husband-wife relationship with her son, claiming to the surgeon that Sebastian was "chaste" and that her relationship with him was enough for her son.

One of the comments here mentioned that "Cathy is crazy, like all Williams heroines." But in truth, Cathy like Blanche is disturbed (though Blanche may be a little closer to being nuts) and both are "put away" to shut them up - Blanche for her accusations against Stanley and Cathy because she knows how Sebastian really died.

Katharine Hepburn gives a brilliant performance as Mrs. Venable - charming but made of steel, her anger and jealousy toward her niece just barely beneath the surface. Elizabeth Taylor gives one of her best performances under the strong direction of Mankiewicz. Taylor was blessed with great beauty but alas, not a great speaking voice. However, she is nevertheless very effective, particularly in her long, harrowing monologue near the end of the film.

Clift's passive portrayal of the surgeon is problematic, and one wonders why he was cast. The opening scene in which he performs an operation had to be redone many times because of his drunkenness and codeine addiction - he was washing down the pills with brandy; his voice quavers, he is unsteady on his feet, and his eyes are glassy. He comes off a little better in the previous year's "Lonelyhearts," though in that film, he actually winces in pain when he has to sit. While Clift had the support of his fellow actors, he had none from Mankiewicz and producer Sam Spiegel. Had it not been for Elizabeth Taylor's insistence, he would have been replaced. It seems cruel (as it did to Hepburn at the time) but Mankiewicz was trying to make a movie and Spiegel wanted it to be on budget - Clift's addictions and physical problems weren't helping. He couldn't remember lines; when he finally said them, he was often inaudible; and he was always late arriving on the set. Fortunately for audiences, this wasn't his last big-budget role. Under the direction of Elia Kazan, he would do the magnificent "Wild River" and seemingly be more in control.

Despite this, "Suddenly, Last Summer" is an excellent, disturbing film, and is highly recommended. It's not Williams' best play, but it is served well in its film adaptation.

Reviewed by MartinHafer8 / 10

Great first half, but movie falters because of its sanitized script

Wow did I love the first 2/3 of this film. All of the actors are in top form and the movie is so wonderful EXCEPT that the whole crux of Liz's "mental problems" is only vaguely alluded to due to the social conventions of the time. I'll discuss this at the end of the review, so if you don't want to know what "it" is, skip this portion.

Liz plays the niece of a very rich and very controlling matriarch (Katherine Hepburn) who is dead set on having her lobotomized by the psychiatrist, played by Montgomery Clift. Since returning from a trip with Sebastian, Liz has been very troubled. Something traumatic obviously happened there and Sebastian died, but instead of investigating what occurred, it seems that Katherine Hepburn wants her lobotomized to shut her up once and for all.

But Clift is an ethical and reasonable doctor who won't just do a lobotomy just to please the aunt--even if it means that the huge endowment she is dangling in front of him is withheld. Of all the characters in the film, he seems like the only sane one with a soul.

Instead of discussing the plot further, I want to point out that the direction and writing were excellent as was most of the acting (though Liz Taylor's delivery of her lines sounded very staccato--like James T. Kirk),but the main problem was the sanitized script. Some idiots at the studio decided to drastically change Tennessee Williams' play due to 1950s sensibilities. In a way, I almost wished they had just waited a decade and then filmed it so they could honestly reproduce the play. Instead, what was apparent in the play is boiled down to "a deep dark secret"--and it never is directly talked about. So in other words, why Liz went with Sebastian and why he died (awfully important parts of the story, don't you think?) were never dealt with! It turns out that the entire deep dark secret is that Sebastian was GAY! But, they instead make allusions such as his "closeness to his mother" and the fact that "he liked to have her around on a vacation because she attracted men" (of course, she would most likely have attracted straight men, so this didn't make a lot of sense)! So much would have been cleared up if they just said he was gay. I knew that this must be the unspoken secret--or, perhaps the crowd killed him because he was a pedophile. It sure makes a difference to me, as in the first case you feel pity for Sebastian.

This COULD have been a great film instead of an excellent one in search of a remake.

Reviewed by bkoganbing10 / 10

Sebastian died; rather Suddenly Last Summer

Something extremely terrifying and traumatic happened to Sebastian Venable on a trip to the Mediterranean last summer. His cousin Catherine Holly was along on the trip and has tried to block it from her mind and it's driven her to the brink.

Mother Violet Venable, the richest woman in these here parts, has her own nefarious reason to make sure that secret doesn't come out. She wants a lobotomy performed on her niece and is willing to endow the hospital and out of town brain surgeon Dr. Cukrowicz all kinds of money to see it happens.

This was Montgomery Clift's third and final picture with Elizabeth Taylor. This time they're not lovers. He's the outsider from Chicago imported like a hit man to do this dirty deed. As Doctor Cukrowicz it's through his eyes that we see what is happening. Everyone else in the film is ready to jump at Violet Venable's command, but not the doctor. In a way, this may have been the most heroic role Montgomery Clift ever essayed, saving Catherine Holly's life and mind by showing the highest form of medical ethics. Tennessee Williams characters are usually not so noble.

Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor were both nominated for playing Violet Venable and Catherine Holly respectively. Both canceled each other out in the Oscar sweepstakes with the big prize going to Simone Signoret.

This was Liz Taylor's third nomination in a row without a winner. In 1957 and 1958 she went to the post with Raintree County and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof respectively. And this was her second venture into Tennessee Williams. The following year she got the big prize for a film she didn't much care for, Butterfield 8.

Of course the film is about homosexuality though in 1959 the name wasn't even mentioned. But with Tennessee Williams as the original playwright, Gore Vidal helping adapt the play to the screen and Montgomery Clift, Albert Dekker,and Merecedes McCambridge in the cast, this certainly was one gay old set.

Dekker plays the head of the hospital where Clift is employed and he's blinded by the vision of the money that Katherine Hepburn is about to bestow on his institution. It's a nice job Dekker does.

I have to mention Mercedes McCambridge though. She completely switches type in this film. Usually she's one tough as nails broad. Here she's an empty headed aging southern belle, a kind of updated Aunt Pittypat Hamilton. She really is quite dense here and so readily manipulated by Katherine Hepburn. McCambridge does a great job as Taylor's mother.

This is one film for the ages, as fresh today as when it was first released.

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