7.7/10
11,193
125 user 44 critic

Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

Unrated | | Drama, Mystery, Thriller | January 1960 (USA)
The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.

Writers:

(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A poor boy gets a job working for his rich uncle and ends up falling in love with two women.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

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.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A graduating poet/teacher falls in love with a Southern woman, and then the Civil War and her past create problems.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint
BUtterfield 8 (1960)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A Manhattan call girl has a tragic affair with a rich married man.

Director: Daniel Mann
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Harvey, Eddie Fisher
Giant (1956)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Sprawling epic covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and associates.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A bitter, aging couple, with the help of alcohol, use a young couple to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal
Wild River (1960)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A TVA bureaucrat comes to the river to do what none of his predecessors have been able to do - evict a stubborn octogenarian from her island before the rising waters engulf her.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick, Jo Van Fleet
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Dr. Lawrence J. Hockstader
...
...
Mavis Villiers ...
Patricia Marmont ...
Nurse Benson
Joan Young ...
Maria Britneva ...
Lucy
Sheila Robbins ...
Dr. Hockstader's Secretary
David Cameron ...
Young Blonde Interne
Edit

Storyline

A wealthy harridan, Violet Venable, attempts to bribe Dr. Cukrowicz, a young psycho-surgeon from a New Orleans mental hospital that is desperately in need of funds, into lobotomizing her niece, Catherine Holly. Violet wants the operation performed in order to prevent Catherine from defiling the memory of her son, the poet Sebastian. Catherine has been babbling obscenely about Sebastian's mysterious death that she witnessed while on holiday together in Spain the previous summer. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Suddenly, last summer, Cathy knew she was being used for something evil! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

January 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De repente en el verano  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter O'Toole did a disastrous screen test. In fact it went so badly, when O'Toole was in the running for the lead in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), producer Sam Spiegel (who had produced "Suddenly..." and was producing "Lawrence...") didn't want anything to do with O'Toole again. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Cukrowicz talks to Mrs. Venable about Sebastian's purity, she is looking at him, but after the cut (just before he asks whether she wants to see Catherine) she is instantly looking away from him. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Venable: Most people's lives, what are they but trails of debris - each day more debris, more debris... long, long trails of debris, with nothing to clean it all up but death.
See more »

Connections

Edited into This Is It (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Thinly veiled story about the unspeakable!
31 March 2000 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

The moral majority's campaign to censor anything on the movie screen considered too taboo had an incredible impact on Hollywood during the 1930's right through to the 1970's. Censors went through Hollywood scripts, tearing out anything considered unspeakable, no matter how important it was to the plot at hand. It became an art form of sorts, for Hollywood film makers to veil their nasty little subjects so that the censors (who weren't that bright anyway) couldn't find it, but so that a smart audience could. Suddenly Last Summer is a classic example of this art in action.

Tennessee Williams was the toast of Broadway in the 1950's, with his melodramatic plays that often tackled heavy subjects such as addiction, adultery and in the case of this story, homosexuality. Katherine Hepburn plays a classic Tennessee Williams vamp, Violet Venable, a lady of means who is mourning the loss of her son. She has sought the help of a psychiatrist, played by Montgomery Clift, as she would like to have a lobotomy performed on her niece, who is apparently off her rocker (as most of Tennessee Williams' ladies are) and is spouting nasty rumors about the dead son.

Like most of Williams' work, Suddenly Last Summer flows along with over the top dialogue, the kind that actors love to sink their teeth into. I have not seen the original stage play but I suspect that this screenplay has been severely hacked to obliterate any talk of homosexuality. Venable's son was murdered while on vacation in Europe. If you take the dialogue literally you might believe that he was murdered for his religious convictions. If you read between the lines you will see that this was clearly a gay bashing.

Hepburn and Taylor both shine in their roles, that seem almost custom made for them. It's rare that Hepburn is cast as a villain, however, her performance leaves me wondering why she hasn't done it more often. Taylor's hyper-active hyper-ventilating, Catherine Holly works well here. Her own brand of melodramatic acting seems to compliment Williams' work.

Clift was a tad cardboard in his role as the psychiatrist, however, it is still interesting to watch this performance that was filmed after his face-altering car accident. One might think that he recently underwent a lobotomy. On the other hand, he is competent, and the performances of the actresses more than compensate.

Suddenly Last Summer works as a film, but I am hesitant to recommend to everyone. This is not an action flick, by any means, but rather a character piece. Scenes are long and they require your concentration, as important statements can be found between the lines. For fans of any of these actors, this is a must see!


104 of 140 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?