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.
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.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
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The family of who is "affectionately" known as "Big Daddy" Pollitt convenes at his and Big Momma's vast 28,000 acre East Mississippi plantation for his sixty-fifth birthday, although it may as well be for his funeral on the belief that he is dying. Despite his latest medical report being clean, in reality he truly does have terminal colon cancer, something the doctor only tells Big Daddy's two sons, Gooper Pollitt, a lawyer, and Brick Pollitt, who recently left his job as a sportscaster. Brooding Brick and his wife Maggie Pollitt, who have driven up from New Orleans for the occasion, are going through a long rough patch in their marriage. Brick wanted to split, but Maggie convinced him to stay married on the condition that she not pressure him for sex. In their troubles, Brick has turned to the bottle, a drunken incident which has left Brick currently on crutches. Maggie believes Gooper and his wife Mae Pollitt are trying to orchestrate Brick out of Big Daddy's will, Brick and ... Written by
It's easin' somewhat now. When you got pain, it's better to judge yourself of a lot of things. I'm not gonna stupify myself with that stuff. I wanna think clear. I want to see everything, and I want to feel everything. Then I won't mind goin'. I've got the guts to die. What I want to know - do you have the guts to live?
I first encountered "Cat" in a fine National Theatre production in 1988 with Lindsay Duncan as Maggie, Ian Charleson as Brick, Eric Porter as Big Daddy, Paul Jessons as Gooper and Alison Steadman as Mae.
The film is not the play, but you don't often get an opportunity to see a fine cast perform this amazing play, and it needs a fine cast.
The movie has a fine cast. The movie grips you from start to finish. The movie even adds a little; the basement scene works wonderfully in the movie in ways that would be hard or impossible to reproduce on stage.
Yes, the play has been bowdlerised to make it into a movie, but what do you expect in 1958. The reality is, this film is a piece of cinema and drama history. You'd need to be a "Williams Fundamentalist" to hate the movie for its toned-down-ness. To the balanced Williams fan, it is gripping, well acted and nicely-paced.
Once every 10-15 years there is a truly fine production of this play in a world-class theatre. If you get the chance, go see a great production in the theatre. In between times, this movie is a very good second.
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