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The Fugitive Kind (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama , Romance | 18 August 1960 (Japan)
Valentine "Snakeskin" Xavier, a trouble-prone drifter trying to go straight, wanders into a small Mississippi town looking for a simple and honest life but finds himself embroiled with problem-filled women.

Director:

Sidney Lumet

Writers:

Tennessee Williams (screenplay), Meade Roberts (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlon Brando ... Valentine 'Snakeskin' Xavier
Anna Magnani ... Lady Torrance
Joanne Woodward ... Carol Cutrere
Maureen Stapleton ... Vee Talbot
Victor Jory ... Jabe Torrance
R.G. Armstrong ... Sheriff Jordan Talbot (as R. G. Armstrong)
Virgilia Chew Virgilia Chew ... Nurse Porter
Ben Yaffee Ben Yaffee ... 'Dog' Hamma
Joe Brown Jr. Joe Brown Jr. ... 'Pee Wee' Binnings
Mary Perry Mary Perry
Madame Spivy Madame Spivy ... Ruby Lightfoot (as Spivy)
John Baragrey ... David Cutrere
Sally Gracie Sally Gracie ... Dolly Hamma
Lucille Benson ... Beulah Binnings
Emory Richardson Emory Richardson ... Uncle Pleasant, the Conjure Man
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Storyline

Having fled New Orleans to avoid arrest, the undeniably alluring Valentine "Snakeskin" Xavier (Val), a trouble-prone guitar-playing drifter, wanders into a small Mississippi town aiming to go straight and lead a quiet, simple life. He gets a job in the dry goods store owned by a sexually-frustrated middle-aged woman named Lady Torrence, whose sadistic elderly husband, Jabe, is dying. With an obscure past and passions of her own, Lady finds herself attracted to Val, pulsating with passion anew, as he presents an arousing antidote to her bitter marriage and small-town hum-drum life, but also vying for Val's attention are the alcoholic, sex-crazed Carol Cutrere and the unhappily-married Vee Talbot. Each bring their share of problems into Val's plans, himself equally tempted by these women though he succumbs to the charms of Lady. But the jealous Jabe is friends with Sheriff Talbot, who's also Vee's wife - things can't possibly end well for Val and Lady. The screenplay by Meade Roberts ... Written by pdlussier1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THREE ACADEMY AWARD WINNERS...THE PULITZER PRIZE AUTHOR..AND NOW THE SCREEN IS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING! (original ad- all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 August 1960 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Tennessee Williams' The Fugitive Kind See more »

Filming Locations:

Milton, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pennebaker Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the cast of the 1957 Broadway production, Maureen Stapleton and R.G. Armstrong made the transition to the screen. While Armstrong reprised his role as Sheriff Talbott, Stapleton took the supporting role of Vee Talbot. Interestingly, Stapleton also was the original Serafina in Tennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo," a role that also was played by Anna Magnani on-screen. See more »

Quotes

Carol Cutrere: Wild things leave skins behind them. They leave clean skins and teeth and white bones. And these are tokens, passed from one to another. So that the fugitive kind can follow their kind.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wild at Heart (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Blanket Roll Blues
Music by Kenyon Hopkins
Lyrics by Tennessee Williams
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A wild emotional and dramatic ride, not quite believable, but a hyper small town world
16 June 2011 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Fugitive Kind (1960)

This is one of those great movies that slips its way into that big gap between the great Hollywood Golden Age to the great New Hollywood of the late 1960s. An awful lot of films from the period between (1955-65) are weak or even downright bad, big budgets and all. The Hollywood gems in that time are usually a little gut wrenching, and many are based on plays, or push political issues (I'm thinking of "The Apartment" and "The Manchurian Candidate"). The famous directors coming to their own during time include Elia Kazan and Robert Wise, and of course Sidney Lumet, who directed this one.

This is all working class, plainspeaking, emotive material. Right from the get-go with leading man Marlon Brando doing a long take as he stands before a judge, we are filled with heart-wrenching stuff, people who want to be something and don't know how, or people with big hearts that are broken or dirty. The cast, beyond Brando, is terrific: Joanne Woodward as a young floozy with a sharp sense of independence, Maureen Stapleton as a simple and faith filled wife of the sheriff, and Anna Magnani, intense and troubled but superior in her own out of place way.

There are powerful displays of white narrow-mindedness (call it bigotry, but it is largely aimed at just anyone they don't like) that don't quite fall into clichés, there is love that shouldn't be and that never is, there is old world morality and inbred local gossipy immorality. Things are bound for collision even by twenty minutes in, and there are innuendoes and hidden histories waiting to blossom.

Lumet has a knack for the serious, with his 1957 breakthrough film "12 Angry Men" a template for his career. As lively and even crazy as this movie is, it's also probing deeply into human woe and maladjustment (often deliberate). The core of the writing belongs to Tennessee Williams, who of course is all about inner troubles and outward misunderstood or mistaken actions. There is nothing superficial here, not in the acting, the filming, or the scenes (set in the South but filmed near Saratoga Springs, New York). And if the wet, dark nights scenes and interiors with people quarreling and fighting aren't enough to suck you in, the story, about wanting to live, nothing more, is beautiful and important. All four of the main characters are deeply good people, and all flawed in small but debilitating ways.

Which should sound familiar. As over the top as it sometimes seems, you'll identify with the position some of the people end up in. Brando is temperamental but patient and with a profound sense of justice. Woodward is a free spirit misunderstood (and punished) by the uptight and hypocritical society around her. The themes are frank for 1960, including an implication of a male so manly and irresistible the women want him (and get him) even when it's completely wrong. And when it's right. The sexuality, partly pumped up by the writing of the openly gay playwright (Williams), is all over Brando's face and in his scenes. And this is his movie.

High high drama, but from within. And explosive. Don't miss it.


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