This wonderfully overheated drama by Tennessee Williams, who wrote the screenplay with Gore Vidal, is animated by ultra-powerful performances from Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn.
Taylor plays Catherine Holly, the niece about to be committed to a mental institution by southern matriarch Mrs Violet Venable (Hepburn) after witnessing the violent death of her cousin, Sebastian (Violet’s much-loved son).
Montgomery Clift is Dr John Cukrowicz, the neurosurgeon called in to assess the girl’s sanity rating before a possible lobotomy.
Elizabeth Taylor portrays Catherine’s brittleness ideally as she nervously puffs on a cigarette as she cottons on to her family’s plans for her so they can secure Sebastian’s fortune left to her in his will.
All the way through there are references to how Sebastian met his demise – as when Catherine accidentally ends up in the male half of the asylum and is crowded, or when Mrs Venable feeds her carnivorous plants and speaks of baby turtles being eaten by birds.
Director Joseph L Mankiewicz makes it a class act all round.
Dr John Cukrowicz
Mrs Violet Venable
Joseph L. Mankiewicz