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Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)

 -  Drama  -  29 May 1962 (Portugal)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,511 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 16 critic

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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Title: Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Thomas J. Finley, Jr.
...
Madeleine Sherwood ...
Philip Abbott ...
...
Scotty
Barry Cahill ...
Bud
...
Dan Hatcher
James Douglas ...
Leroy
Barry Atwater ...
Ben Jackson
Charles Arnt ...
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:

Provocative Adult Entertainment See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 May 1962 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

El dulce pájaro de la juventud  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Longtime MGM hair stylist Sydney Guilaroff appears uncredited attending to the hair of Geraldine Page. He was extremely well respected, serving as chief hair stylist at MGM from 1934 until the late 1970s. Although he did not receive onscreen credit, he designed Judy Garland's hair styles for The Wizard of Oz (1939) and made Lucille Ball's hair red for Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), the color she kept it for the rest of her life. See more »

Goofs

At 1:56:34, camera shadow is visible on Findley Jr. See more »

Quotes

Chance Wayne: Oh, man. Don't you know only squares drink gin martinis with olives?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Monty Python's Flying Circus: Untitled (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Over the Rainbow
(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Heard as a theme when Chance and Alexandra arrive at the hotel. Played on piano by Ray Sherman.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Deliciously Overwrought
17 July 2006 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Highflying melodrama permeates this Tennessee Williams play converted to film by Director Richard Brooks. What makes this Southern soap opera fascinating is the cast of tawdry characters, beginning with Chance Wayne (Paul Newman), a charming, ambitious gigolo who, despite his best efforts, can't quite make his worldly dreams come true.

But this time he's got a real plan for success. Chance returns to his hometown on the Gulf Coast, bringing with him a boozed-out, high-strung movie star named Alexandra Del Lago (Geraldine Page). Chance hopes to grab his hometown girlfriend, Heavenly (Shirley Knight), and the three of them skedaddle off to Hollywood, so that Chance can make it big in the movies, with the help of Alexandra, of course. Thing is ... Alexandra is so spaced out, she can't remember who Chance is, or where she met him.

Chance's homecoming is anything but cordial, mostly because of the influence of Heavenly's dad, 'Boss' Finley (Ed Begley) who, along with Finley, Jr. (Rip Torn), has it in for Chance. Complicating matters even more is Miss Lucy (Madeleine Sherwood), 'Boss' Finley's mistress whom Heavenly can't stand.

Having originated as a stage play, the film takes place mostly indoors, and is very talky. But the Tennessee Williams dialogue is predictably incisive, with commentary both on the whims of success and on the fleeting nature of youth.

By far, my favorite element of the film is the deliciously overwrought performance of Geraldine Page. With her distinctive voice, her mannerisms, and her stunning acting ability, she chews up the scenery and then some, overpowering everyone and everything else. No actress could have been more credible in the role of Alexandra, an almost comical character, whose firmness, vanity, self-centeredness, and dramatic flair make her both weak and strong at the same time.

Although flashbacks tend to disrupt the flow, the film's screen story is otherwise very good. With great performances from multiple actors, excellent color cinematography, and an appropriately jazzy/blues score, "Sweet Bird Of Youth" is a film treat, in the grand tradition of cinematic melodrama.


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