More than anything I’m impressed with how Mankiewicz works around the code. Not the strongest of Tennessee Williams’s adaptations — and he was right to think that Elizabeth Taylor was miscast — but it’s always a joy to see Katharine Hepburn lose her mind and Monty Clift, well, exist. Also, not critiquing this based on the way it understands mental health — it doesn’t — but as a drama.
3.5 stars. The stuttering of my video stream seemed to reflect the film's neurotic energies trying to break through. It is, after all, a film of scintillating evasions. I must admit to not being as convinced by its human dramas as in, say, 'Streetcar Named Desire' or 'Night of the Iguana' because it operates in such a camp, heightened register. How on earth did it get past the censors???
Anyone who thinks this overacting then you don't realise this is Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the mother. TW's genius writing, Hepburn's acting, the direction is accurate. These people are larger than life; their manipulation of others deadly, literally. It's a living nightmare. Everyone is forced to obey. If you're the focus of their wrath as Taylor portrayals well, they take your sanity and end your life.
An intense play captured on film with all its heightened dramatics. Miss Katherine, a victim of madness all around her played with strength and humour by Elizabeth Taylor (we are not worthy). How vulnerable we all are. Especially with doctors performing lobotomy operations without proper lighting...! A masterpiece with masters at work.
This film is ALL Montgomery Clift, made after his terrible car crash that sent him down a spiral of surgeries and alcohol + painkiller abuse, and while his role is about helping and instilling reason, his gaze is so intense and pleading, he couldn't really oust and outsize his own hurt off-screen entity while playing. Add plot to his discomfort: a wealthy matriarch attempts to hush the homosexual leanings of her son.