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.
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.
A wealthy harridan, Violet Venable, attempts to bribe Dr. Cukrowicz, a young psycho-surgeon from a New Orleans mental hospital that is desperately in need of funds, into lobotomizing her niece, Catherine Holly. Violet wants the operation performed in order to prevent Catherine from defiling the memory of her son, the poet Sebastian. Catherine has been babbling obscenely about Sebastian's mysterious death that she witnessed while on holiday together in Spain the previous summer. Written by
Screenwriter Gore Vidal credits film critic Bosley Crowther with the success of this film. Crowther wrote a scathing review denouncing the film as the work of degenerates obsessed with rape, incest, homosexuality, and cannibalism among other qualities. Vidal believes advertising such salacious detail made audiences flock in droves to the film. See more »
Violet's hand jumps from her neck to her mouth when she tells the doctor that Sebastian had been looking for hungry birds. See more »
This film should have earned Taylor her first Oscar
"Suddenly, Last Summer" brought Elizabeth Taylor her third Oscar nomination, and she probably should have won (though winner Simone Signoret's performance in "Room at the Top" was also outstanding). Taylor is awesome in this film ----- most notably in the final twenty minutes, which she virtually dominates. This entire scene was reportedly shot in one take, which makes sense, since the character begins with a narrative and gradually builds to an emotionally shattering climax. Taylor's previous film, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", was also Oscar caliber, but this performance is even more impressive. The 1960 Oscar for "Butterfield 8" was probably a consolation prize for the Oscar she should have received for either of these two previous films.
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