Suddenly Last Summer (1959) Film Review

Suddenly Last Summer
DIRECTOR Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Another Southern Gothic, this time from a less-than-inspired Tennessee Williams’ play Suddenly Last Summer. We never get to meet the film’s central gay character Sebastian Venable since he is already deceased; his body torn to pieces and eaten by hordes of young men on a beach in Europe. He was on vacation, accompanied by his cousin Catherine (Elizabeth Taylor). Understandably, since the horrific incident, Catherine has been mentally unstable and prone to relive the details. Katherine Hepburn plays Sebastian’s mother Violet Venable who attempts to bribe a young psychosurgeon (Montgomery Clift) to lobotomize Catherine to stop her from talking.
The movie is risible, its few pleasures come from Hepburn’s regal (but very nasty) mother who will do anything to protect her son’s memory, even if that takes turning her niece into a vegetable. The sore point for Violet is that, when her beauty faded, she was replaced by Catherine – Sebastian used both to attract the boys. Clift, just post-accident, looks ill while Taylor does her worst screen work in that awful monologue where she must recall the events of that terrible summer’s day.
POST TITLES: 55 Queer Films Made Under the Hays Code (1934-1967) (Part 2) | Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. – TheBrownees
CATEGORY: My Favorites
STREAMING: Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV

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