Brick Pollitt (Paul Newman), an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie (Dame Elizabeth Taylor). His reunion with his father, Big Daddy (Burl Ives), who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
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
Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud, who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.
The family of "Big Daddy" Pollitt (Burl Ives) convenes at his and Big Momma's (Dame Judith Anderson's). Among the attendees is alcoholic son, Brick (Paul Newman); an ex-football player, who spends his time drinking and avoiding the ministries of his libidinous wife, Maggie (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) - "the cat". As this gathering isn't so much as a gathering but a farewell (Big Daddy is terminally ill) a lot of memories and revelations which had been hidden come to the surface of both father and son.Written by
I first encountered "Cat" in a fine National Theatre production in 1988 with Lindsay Duncan as Maggie, Ian Charleson as Brick, Eric Porter as Big Daddy, Paul Jessons as Gooper and Alison Steadman as Mae.
The film is not the play, but you don't often get an opportunity to see a fine cast perform this amazing play, and it needs a fine cast.
The movie has a fine cast. The movie grips you from start to finish. The movie even adds a little; the basement scene works wonderfully in the movie in ways that would be hard or impossible to reproduce on stage.
Yes, the play has been bowdlerised to make it into a movie, but what do you expect in 1958. The reality is, this film is a piece of cinema and drama history. You'd need to be a "Williams Fundamentalist" to hate the movie for its toned-down-ness. To the balanced Williams fan, it is gripping, well acted and nicely-paced.
Once every 10-15 years there is a truly fine production of this play in a world-class theatre. If you get the chance, go see a great production in the theatre. In between times, this movie is a very good second.
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