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CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, 1958
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CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF,  1958, MOVIE POSTERCAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, 1958
Movie Reviews

Directed by Richard Brooks

Cast: Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Burl Ives, Judith Anderson, Jack Carson, Judith Anderson,Madeleine Sherwood
Review by Jarred Thomas


SYNOPSIS:

Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.

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REVIEW:

A poignant film about father and son, as well as the unspoken relationship between two men in the film adaptation of Tennessee Williamís play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The play itself was controversial because of its subject matter involving homosexuality, yet since the film was made in the 50ís regulations about homosexuality was watered down, or avoided altogether. That unfortunately is what happened in the adaptation, but keep in mind, unless you were familiar with the play, it didnít take anything away from the film as the actors and the script were powerful enough.

As usual, Newman played the brooding tormented youth Brick Pollitt, a talented baseball player who resorts to drinking after his best friend, and assumed lover, commits suicide. During a night of heavy drinking, he injures his ankle and for the duration of the film is forced to use crutches. He and his wife Maggie (Taylor) are attending Big Daddyís Birthday Celebration in the South. Big Daddy is the wealthy father of Brick, who favors his talented son but also worries about his recent troubles. The two have not really spoken about their issues and the tension between the two looms.

Maggie admits to Brick that she was always jealous of his relationship with Skipper, Brickís friend who committed suicide, and her jealousy led her to try and seduce Skipper in an attempt at ending their relationship. But she couldnít go through with it. This is where the storyline of homosexuality is removed entirely because the book implies that Brick and Skipperís friendship/relationship was more, yet the film avoids the issue and presents it as more of two close friends.

But the issue is still well handled, and Taylor does a fine job showing the struggle Maggie endures in her marriage to Brick. He loves her but his lack of affection suggest otherwise, and despite what she knows or thinks she knows about Brick and Skipper, she remains loyal and committed to her husband. She is a walking heartbreak.

There are several great scenes with Taylor and Newman as she describes her deep love for him despite his lack of interest. Her desperation as she tries to seduce her husband only to be rejected on the spot is almost embarrassing to watch for Maggie. Taylor effectively conveys her anguish, and she proclaims that she is no longer the same kind hearted woman, but now has become a cold, spiteful person vying for the affections of the man she loves. Itís a really great scene that pits two top of their game actors against each other.

The script is also strong here. The dialogue is captivating and absorbing. Every line uttered you are completely forced to listen, and almost become engaged in the conversation because it feels real. The moments when the characters finally reveal their thoughts, feelings and issues are hard yet compelling to watch. Richard Brooks does a great job translating the script onto film without skipping a beat or stepping on any of the performances. Everything flows together perfectly.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a true classic and one of the most celebrated films of all time. Newman and Taylor are terrific and the supporting cast is entertaining and a joy to watch as well. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a masterpiece. Enjoy.

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CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF


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