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Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)

Approved | | Drama | 29 May 1962 (Portugal)
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Drifter Chance Wayne returns to his hometown after many years of trying to make it in the movies. Arriving with him is a faded film star he picked up along the way, Alexandra Del Lago. ... See full summary »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
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Thomas J. Finley, Jr.
...
Madeleine Sherwood ...
...
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Scotty
Barry Cahill ...
Bud
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Dan Hatcher
James Douglas ...
Leroy
Barry Atwater ...
Ben Jackson
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Mayor Henricks
Dorothy Konrad ...
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Storyline

Drifter Chance Wayne returns to his hometown after many years of trying to make it in the movies. Arriving with him is a faded film star he picked up along the way, Alexandra Del Lago. While trying to get her help to make a screen test, he also finds the time to meet his former girlfriend Heavenly, the daughter of the local politician Tom 'Boss' Finley, who more or less forced him to leave the town many years ago. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The big difference between people is not between the rich and the poor, The big difference is between those who have ecstasy in love an' those who haven't See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

29 May 1962 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

El dulce pájaro de la juventud  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The unusual four-door convertible is a Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton. There were three made, and according to a Wikipedia entry, the color scheme matches at what the time was the Los Angeles car. See more »

Goofs

About ten minutes into the movie, Chance Wayne checks into a hotel and his coat is half way on. He then puts it on and the collar is not straight. In the next shot from behind his collar is straight. The next shot shows him walking away and his collar is again slightly crooked. See more »

Quotes

Heavenly Finley: [Parting words to her father] Papa, I'm never comin' into that house again.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Leather Jacket Love Story (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Sleepers Wake
/ "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" (BWV 140) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Heard during the church processional.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Newman and Page - yowza!
11 November 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Geraldine Page, Paul Newman, Madeline Sherwood and Rip Torn all recreate their Broadway roles for the film version of "Sweet Bird of Youth," a 1962 film based on Tennessee Williams' play and directed by Richard Brooks. Again and as usual, some bite has been taken out of the original story in order to get past the censors.

Geraldine Page is the drunk, drugged and over the hill movie star Alexandra del Lago, who has picked up with a Hollywood gigolo, Chance Wayne and promised him a film career. At present she's escaping from what she perceives as a disastrous comeback. Chance returns with her to his home town, yearning for the respectability and success that has eluded him. Instead he runs into trouble from his ex-girlfriend's crooked politician father, Tom Finley (Ed Begley) and Finley's son, Tom Jr. (Rip Torn) who want him out of town because of what happened to Heavenly (Shirley Knight). In the play, Chance has given Heavenly a venereal disease; in the film, she's had an abortion. Chance desperately tries to see and speak with Heavenly, appealing to her Aunt Nonnie (Mildred Dunnock), but it leads to more trouble than he bargained for.

Page is a powerhouse as Alexandra, more glamorous than we're used to seeing her and as sloppy a drunk and druggie as you'll ever find. Alexandra's a selfish user, and she's got the technique down pat. The role of Chance, another selfish user, came fairly early on in the handsome Newman's career - he came very close to being typecast as these fast-talking amoral men. In those days, Newman struggled with a lack of emotional availability and these roles fit him beautifully. Thankfully he grew to encompass parts in films such as he had in "The Verdict" and became one of our greatest American actors. Madeline Sherwood, so effective in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," is equally good here as Boss Finley's girlfriend; her scene with Begley in her hotel room is truly terrifying. Begley is fantastic, mean as dirt, as is Torn as his equally cruel son. And "Desperate Housewives" fans will be interested to see a slim, pretty Shirley Knight as Heavenly, a somewhat vapid role for such a strong actress.

The DVD has a screen test for Chance by Rip Torn, who would later marry Page. He and Page perform a scene between Alexandra and Chance from the play - though the scene is in the film, it has been changed slightly. It's total stage acting, quite different from the film, but both are excellent, Torn giving Chance a lot of intensity. Though in those days he was very good-looking, he probably didn't come off as enough of a boy toy for the producers. It's a very interesting extra and well worth seeing, as is this somewhat watered-down "Sweet Bird of Youth."


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