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This first movie version of the Tennessee Williams play about a faded, aging Southern belle, her shy, crippled daughter and her "selfish dreamer" of a son more or less sticks to the original story, except for a compromise ending which strives to be more upbeat. Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
Excellent performances make up for a slow pace in this adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play. An aging Southern Belle (Gertrude Lawrence) makes life horrible for her ambitious son (Arthur Kennedy) and crippled daughter (Jane Wyman) because of her dreams of what life should be. She hopes to get her daughter married off, unable to see her faults and she thinks she has a shot when her son bring home a man (Kirk Douglas) he works with. I really wasn't sure what to expect from this film after reading a few negative reviews but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was worth watching due in large part to the terrific performances by the entire cast. I was really shocked to see how well the entire cast handled the dialogue and how easy it came off for everyone. Lawrence really stands out as the overbearing mother who you just want to hate yet she's so annoying that she becomes charming after a while. I thought Lawrence did a terrific job at playing both sides of the coin because you do hate her for the way she treats her children but when the stranger shows up, she changes to someone completely different. Just check her performance when this stranger tells her something she didn't know. Wyman is also excellent as the shy and cripple daughter. She too got into the role quite well and made us believe everything about the character. Both Kennedy and Douglas also turn in fine performance and most importantly is how well all four act together. I think director Rapper could have pushed the film a little faster as the pace gets very slow after a while but this is just a small complaint. As with many of Williams' stories, this one here had quite a bit cut out to get pass the censors but in the end this is still worth viewing thanks to the cast.
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