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The Fugitive Kind (1960)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 18 August 1960 (Japan)
Val Xavier, a drifter of obscure origins arrives at a small town and gets a job in a store run by Lady Torrence, a sex-starved woman whose husband Jabe M. Torrance is dying of cancer ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Lady Torrance
...
Carol Cutrere
...
Vee Talbot
...
Jabe M. Torrance
...
Sheriff Jordan Talbott
Emory Richardson ...
Uncle Pleasant, the Conjure Man
Madame Spivy ...
Ruby Lightfoot (as Spivy)
Sally Gracie ...
Dolly Hamma
Lucille Benson ...
Beulah Binnings
...
David Cutrere
Ben Yaffee ...
'Dog' Hamma
Joe Brown Jr. ...
'Pee Wee' Binnings
Virgilia Chew ...
Nurse Porter
Frank Borgman ...
Gas Station Attendant
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Storyline

Val Xavier, a drifter of obscure origins arrives at a small town and gets a job in a store run by Lady Torrence, a sex-starved woman whose husband Jabe M. Torrance is dying of cancer upstairs. Val is pursued by Carol Cutere, the enigmatic local tramp-of-good-family, who covets his snakeskin jacket as much as his body and tries to seduce him in the cemetery. Val is more attracted to the mature Lady and gets her pregnant. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Their fire! Their fever! Their desire! (original ad) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 August 1960 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Piel de serpiente  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Battle of Angels," the original version of Tennessee Williams' play "Orpheus Descending" on which this film is based, flopped in Boston in 1940 and did not make it to Broadway. The 1957 Broadway production of the reworked play, starring Cliff Robertson and Maureen Stapleton as Val and Lady Torrance, also was a flop. It was not until the 1989 revival, starring Vanessa Redgrave as Lady Torrance, that the play was a success on Broadway. See more »

Quotes

Carol Cutrere: Wild things leave skins behind them. They leave clean skins and teeth and white bones. And these are tokens, passed from one to another. So that the fugitive kind can follow their kind.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: High School Big Shot (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Blanket Roll Blues
Music by Kenyon Hopkins
Lyrics by Tennessee Williams
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A wild emotional and dramatic ride, not quite believable, but a hyper small town world
16 June 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Fugitive Kind (1960)

This is one of those great movies that slips its way into that big gap between the great Hollywood Golden Age to the great New Hollywood of the late 1960s. An awful lot of films from the period between (1955-65) are weak or even downright bad, big budgets and all. The Hollywood gems in that time are usually a little gut wrenching, and many are based on plays, or push political issues (I'm thinking of "The Apartment" and "The Manchurian Candidate"). The famous directors coming to their own during time include Elia Kazan and Robert Wise, and of course Sidney Lumet, who directed this one.

This is all working class, plainspeaking, emotive material. Right from the get-go with leading man Marlon Brando doing a long take as he stands before a judge, we are filled with heart-wrenching stuff, people who want to be something and don't know how, or people with big hearts that are broken or dirty. The cast, beyond Brando, is terrific: Joanne Woodward as a young floozy with a sharp sense of independence, Maureen Stapleton as a simple and faith filled wife of the sheriff, and Anna Magnani, intense and troubled but superior in her own out of place way.

There are powerful displays of white narrow-mindedness (call it bigotry, but it is largely aimed at just anyone they don't like) that don't quite fall into clichés, there is love that shouldn't be and that never is, there is old world morality and inbred local gossipy immorality. Things are bound for collision even by twenty minutes in, and there are innuendoes and hidden histories waiting to blossom.

Lumet has a knack for the serious, with his 1957 breakthrough film "12 Angry Men" a template for his career. As lively and even crazy as this movie is, it's also probing deeply into human woe and maladjustment (often deliberate). The core of the writing belongs to Tennessee Williams, who of course is all about inner troubles and outward misunderstood or mistaken actions. There is nothing superficial here, not in the acting, the filming, or the scenes (set in the South but filmed near Saratoga Springs, New York). And if the wet, dark nights scenes and interiors with people quarreling and fighting aren't enough to suck you in, the story, about wanting to live, nothing more, is beautiful and important. All four of the main characters are deeply good people, and all flawed in small but debilitating ways.

Which should sound familiar. As over the top as it sometimes seems, you'll identify with the position some of the people end up in. Brando is temperamental but patient and with a profound sense of justice. Woodward is a free spirit misunderstood (and punished) by the uptight and hypocritical society around her. The themes are frank for 1960, including an implication of a male so manly and irresistible the women want him (and get him) even when it's completely wrong. And when it's right. The sexuality, partly pumped up by the writing of the openly gay playwright (Williams), is all over Brando's face and in his scenes. And this is his movie.

High high drama, but from within. And explosive. Don't miss it.


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