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Susan Saint James,
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Brick, the son of a rich southern plantation owner, is drinking himself to death over some hidden pain. His wife Maggie is desperate to regain his love. Brick's father, known as Big Daddy, has returned from a clinic where he has gone for serious health issues, but has been told he has a clean bill of health. Brick's brother and his scheming wife have hopes of inheriting the huge plantation. Eventually a long conversation between Brick and his father bring out all the lies that have been tearing the family apart. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
While I haven't seen very much of the highly-touted 1958 film version of Tennessee Williams's play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor (arguably the most attractive stars of their respective times), the film itself from what I've read was censored and given a tacked on ending to appease the Hayes Code and Catholic League of Decency. I'd imagine the actors were cast well for the parts, but it would likely be best to have the full power and conviction and very human tragedy of Brick to be most effective. Since then the play has been produced countless times in all parts of the country (not least of which on Broadway, where as recent as the past few years an all-black cast was put together for a revival), and as with this 1985 live-taped show, some of it was broadcast as it was for the masses.
I saw the a video of this production, featuring Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Lange, and Rip Torn, in a Modern Drama class at my old college, and it definitely left an impact after already going over the play in heavy lit-analysis mode. It is, of course, hampered by being a filmed taping of a live performance, but in this limitation it's great to just watch the actors fully embody these characters on their own terms. And, more often than not, it's dynamite; it might even be some of the best acting Torn has ever done, on stage or in film, as the tough "Big Daddy" character who gets a big powerhouse act to spar off of Jones in his conflicted, repressed homosexual character grieving his friend's suicide. Lange, by the way, is excellent in her sultry but depressed wife who is ignored/belittled by Brick.
So, as I can't really give a base of comparison between original film version and this, I can simply say that, for what it's worth, it gives fans of Williams and the play itself their money's worth (or TV-viewing time worth, if it happens to ever play again on a channel). Find it on video if you can!
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