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The Glass Menagerie (1950)

Approved | | Drama | 23 February 1951 (Finland)
Merchant marine officer Tom Wingfield reminisces about his life in St. Louis where he had lived with his nagging mother Amanda and crippled shy sister Laura.

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

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Ann Tyrrell ...
John Compton ...
Young Man
Gertrude Graner ...
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Storyline

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 <genekim@concentric.net>

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Four Academy Award predictions! Jane Wyman, Kirk Douglas, Gertrude Lawrence, Arthur Kennedy

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Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

23 February 1951 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Algemas de Cristal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,357,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his 1988 autobiography "The Ragman's Son", 'Kirk Douglas' says that he thinks that the effectiveness of this movie was hampered by Gertrude Lawrence's vanity, since the filmmakers were obliged to add scenes that made her character look younger and more appealing. Douglas also says that he prefers the 1987 film version directed by Paul Newman over this one. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Girlie Edition (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Someone to Watch Over Me
(uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Played when Laura helps Tom into bed
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User Reviews

 
Gertrude Lawrence in Her Best Film
10 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of Tennessee Williams' best plays becomes a good but not great film despite a stellar cast. It's hard to pin exactly why this film doesn't soar but it's a solid screen version. Maybe it's just that the subject matter works better in a stage environment and that the camera is just too intimate.

Familiar story of restless son, his crippled sister, and their manic mother, who seems to live in the golden past is great material for the stage. And this sad story of the mother's attempts to goad the son into bringing home a young man to meet the sister seems rather cruel. But even the forgotten and lost can lead lives of desperation as they cling to dreams and make wishes on silver moons.

Arthur Kennedy stars as Tom, the son who tries to please his mother but longs to escape his dull job in St. Louis and see the world. Jane Wyman is the crippled sister who has shrunk from the world and collects tiny glass animals. Gertrude Lawrence is the mother who was abandoned by her husband and has been reduced to living in a dumpy apartment and selling magazine subscriptions. And Kirk Douglas is the "gentleman caller." All 4 actors are quite good, although none received Oscar nominations, despite the hype. Many great actresses have been associated with the role of Amanda Wingfield since this play made its Broadway debut in the 1940s: Laurette Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Joanne Woodward, Maureen Stapletobm Jessica Tandy, Julie Harris, and Jessica Lange have all played the role on stage, film, or TV. And I swear I remember Shirley Booth doing this on TV also.

Ultimetaely the story is as fragile as the glass figures. If any one character dominates the story the whole play collapses. This film version works very well in balancing the roles. And while Wyman seems a tad old for the part, Lawrence was an even odder choice. I've also read that Bette Davis and Tallulah Bankhead were considered. But how they decided on Lawrence--a great musical comedy star in London and New York--is anyone's guess. She really is quite good but the film might have need the extra star power of Bette Davis.

Anyway, this classic American play is worth watching.


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