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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)

Not Rated | | Drama | 29 August 1958 (USA)
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.

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writers:

Richard Brooks (screenplay), James Poe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Elizabeth Taylor ... Maggie Pollitt
Paul Newman ... Brick Pollitt
Burl Ives ... Big Daddy Pollitt
Jack Carson ... Gooper Pollitt
Judith Anderson ... Big Momma Pollitt
Madeleine Sherwood ... Mae Pollitt
Larry Gates ... Dr. Baugh
Vaughn Taylor ... Deacon Davis
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Storyline

The family of "Big Daddy" Pollitt convenes at his and Big Momma's vast 28,000 acre East Mississippi plantation for his sixty-fifth birthday, although it may as well be for his funeral on the belief that he is dying. Despite his latest medical report being clean, in reality he truly does have terminal colon cancer, something the doctor only tells Big Daddy's two sons, Gooper Pollitt, a lawyer, and Brick Pollitt, who recently left his job as a sportscaster. Brooding Brick and his wife Maggie Pollitt, who have driven up from New Orleans for the occasion, are going through a long rough patch in their marriage. Brick wanted to split, but Maggie convinced him to stay married on the condition that she not pressure him for sex. In their troubles, Brick has turned to the bottle, leading to a drunken incident which has left Brick currently on crutches. Maggie believes Gooper and his wife Mae Pollitt are trying to orchestrate Brick out of Big Daddy's will. Brick and Maggie's saving grace is Big ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

All the sultry drama of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize winning Play is now on the screen! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 August 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Katze auf dem heißen Blechdach See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$17,570,324

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,472,824
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Avon Productions (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Perspecta Sound®) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original stage play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams premiered at the Morosco Theater in New York on March 24, 1955 and ran for 694 performances. It was nominated for the 1956 Tony Award (New York City) for the Best Play. Elia Kazan directed the production, and amongst the replacement cast members during its long run was Jack Lord as "Brick". See more »

Goofs

After Brick and Big Daddy come up from the cellar, Big Mamma says to Gooper "Take these papers away before I tear them up. I don't know what's in them; I don't want to know what's in them." Big Daddy goes outside and talks to the folks fixing the light. As he approaches the door to come into the room where Gooper and Big Mamma are arguing, you can hear her say the line "Take these papers away before I tear them up. I don't know what's in them; I don't want to know what's in them." again. See more »

Quotes

Harvey 'Big Daddy' Pollitt: Wouldja look at all this stuff? Bought most of it when I took your mother to Europe on that Cook's Tour. Never had such a lousy time in my life. I tell you that Europe ain't nothin' but a wore-out auction, just a great big fire sale, the whole rotten thing. Boy, Big Mama just wild in it, and she just bought and bought and bought. Sure is lucky I'm a rich man, yes, sirree, sure is lucky. Got any idea how much I'm worth, son? Ask Gooper. He knows. He knows to the penny 'less I missed my guess. ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

Love Theme from Cat On a Hot Tin Roof
(1958) (uncredited)
Composed by Charles Wolcott
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A powerful Burl Ives livens up a simple story
19 December 2009 | by hall895See all my reviews

The best thing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has going for it is one truly remarkable acting performance. And that performance comes from neither Elizabeth Taylor nor Paul Newman. There's nothing wrong with the work turned in by Taylor and Newman, they are both perfectly fine in their roles. And it is their characters who are the focus for most of the film. But late on in the proceedings Burl Ives grabs hold of the film and makes it his own. Ives turns in a performance which is so strong and powerful that it threatens to overshadow and overwhelm everything else in the film. However it is rather difficult to overshadow Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. And the film's rather simple story is certainly compelling enough so as not to be overwhelmed by the Ives tour de force near the end. So while Ives may end up being the most memorable thing the film has to offer he is certainly not the only memorable thing. His great performance is merely the best part of what is an overall thoroughly satisfying film.

The film's simple story centers around a day in the life of a wealthy Southern family. With this family the key word is "mendacity". What does that even mean? Any of our characters who initially don't know about mendacity surely will by the time the story plays itself out. As we meet them everyone has come together to celebrate the 65th birthday of family patriarch Big Daddy. Initially it seems the film is about Big Daddy's son Brick and his wife Maggie the Cat. Brick and Maggie are not currently in the throes of wedded bliss. To say their relationship is strained would be putting it mildly. The fact that alcohol seems to be the only thing in life Brick is at all interested in probably does not help matters. But as the film progresses we see there is a larger issue than Brick and Maggie's troubled marriage. Big Daddy is dying. And nobody, not his family and not his doctors, has the guts to tell him. This will ultimately play itself out in powerful, heartrending fashion.

For much of the film's running time you would call it compelling but certainly not spectacular. But then Ives, as Big Daddy, grabs the film by its throat and shakes some real life into it. There's a scene where Ives as Big Daddy and Newman as Brick are alone in a basement which simply could not have been performed any better. There's so much these characters have to say to one another. The emotion is raw and the scene is so powerful. It hits you right in the heart. Just this one scene alone, with these two great actors, elevates the film all by itself. Newman is terrific. Ives is astounding. Perhaps it is in fact possible to overshadow Elizabeth Taylor. Maybe just this once. Maggie the Cat is an intriguing character in her own right and Taylor certainly doesn't disappoint in the role. But it turns out that ultimately the film is really about the relationship between Brick and his father, not Brick and his wife. And as such it is Newman, and most especially Ives, who you will most remember. It is their work which transforms a good movie into something truly memorable.


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