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
The Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon has been living in Mexico for two years, working as a tourist guide for a cut-rate travel agency. Shannon lost his church and was defrocked after taking liberties with one of his parishioners. He's now accompanying a group of middle-aged ladies from Texas whose leader, Judith Fellowes, is keeping a close eye on her teenage ward, Charlotte Goodall, who definitely has an interest in the former priest. After Charlotte and Shannon spend the night together, Fellowes is out to have him fired and to keep her from communicating with his employer, Shannon strands them at a remote hotel run by his good friend Maxine Faulk. It's the arrival of Hannah Jelkes and her elderly grandfather that has the greatest impact however. Her approach to life and love forces Shannon to deal with his demons and re-evaluate his life. Written by
According to one of the biographies of Tennessee Williams, "The Kindness of Strangers," by Donald Spoto, the character of Maxine, who is portrayed in this film by Ava Gardner, was purportedly based upon Williams' landlady of the apartment he rented in Santa Monica while he was working at MGM Studios in the 1940s. Her mannerisms, attitudes and even her distinctive one-syllable laugh were detailed by Williams and are expertly performed by Gardner. See more »
Contrary to the opinion of some, in the opening shot of the church, a torrential rainstorm does not take place under a cloudless sky, it's a solid overcast sky -- hard to differentiate on black and white film. See more »
What... uh... subject do you teach back in that college of yours hunny?
Voice... if that's got anything to do with it.
Well geography is my specialty. Did you know that if it wasn't for the dikes, the plains of Texas would be engulfed by the gulf?
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Watched this film recently for the seventh or eighth time -it' always a delight. Classic Burton hamming it up just enough. . . calm, cool Kerr proping up "Shannon's" sanity. . . free-spirited Gardner charging around trying to keep her sanity and reaching out for Shannon. . .Lyon, the "precocious" seductress. . . all were amazingly believable. I didn't have a problem with the black and white, in fact, I think it added to impact of the film, leaving it up to the actors to pull out the heart of William's magnificent play without the benefit of color, although I'm not sure color would have made any difference anyway. The final dialogue between Kerr and Burton was spellbinding: the meeting of two souls, if only for the moment.
Kerr, Burton, and Gardner were at their finest in this film.
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