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The Fugitive Kind (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 14 April 1960 (USA)
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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Stars: Raf Vallone, Jean Sorel, Maureen Stapleton
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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:

...and now the screen is struck by lightning ! 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:

14 April 1960 (USA) 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

Although set in an unnamed small town in the American south, most of the exteriors for this film were actually shot in Milton, New York, a small town on the Hudson River, approximately 40 miles from New York City. This was done to accommodate director Sidney Lumet, who did not want to shoot outside his Manhattan home. See more »

Quotes

Lady Torrance: Are you a lady's man?
Valentine 'Snakeskin' Xavier: It's been said that a woman can burn a man down... I can burn a woman down.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: High School Big Shot (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Blanket Roll Blues
Music by Kenyon Hopkins
Lyrics by Tennessee Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Extremely poignant and captivating!
28 August 2000 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Tennessee Williams was a stunning writer for the theater... The impact of his plays can overwhelm an audience with its superior force...

Written in 1957, "Orpheus Descending" is a reconstruction of Williams' 1940 "Battle of Angels," filmed under Sidney Lumet's direction as "The Fugitive Kind."

Williams subtracted elements of the ancient myth of Orpheus and Euridice to examine the sadistically patriarchal Southern Gothic town and to create a violent plot, involving ruined love, weakness, sex, betrayal, vengeance and lingering hatreds... "Orpheus Descending" shows how social prejudice threatens the lives of identified outsiders...

This classic play is not quite his masterpiece... "A Streetcar Named Desire" is... It lacks some of the regretful charm of "The Glass Menagerie" and the entire impact of "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof." Nevertheless it is a deeply moving work of art...

Williams was known for his compelling dialog and themes that - for their time - often seemed strange or shocking... He vividly suggested the sexual tensions and prevented violence of his tormented character, usually with compassion as well as irony...

The film focuses on a handsome drifter from New Orleans, named Val Xavier, wearing a snake skin jacket - Williams' trademark of a rebel, non-conformist - Val is a "fugitive kind" who comes in off the highway... He is a rural Orpheus who descends to rescue his love, not in Hades precisely, but among the intrigue, chatter, and violence of the hot-tempered town of Two Rivers, Mississippi... He is a wandering guitar player who embarks on an affair with a lonely frustrated unhappy storekeeper's wife Lady Torrance...

Anna Magnani is intelligently sensual and charming as Lady... Joanne Woodward is the hungry grotesque drunken Carol who tries to seduce Val in a cemetery... Both women are so intense, that they force you to become involved with them...

The genuine community provides also interesting watching: Victor Jory, positively magnetic as the brutal oppressive husband Jabe Torrence; the vindictive sheriff R. G. Armstrong; and the soft-hearted Vee (Maureen Stapleton).

Lady Torrence is a study of the immigrant woman who has acquired a patina of resilient toughness but who slowly admits her sensuality... She catches perfectly contradictory emotions of one who is wary of the stranger but who longs for his healing touch...

With handsome magnetism, Brando is no less compelling... He is quite convincing avoiding all the clichés of the drifting Don Juan... With some kind of lucid intensity, he mixes his character's predatory and uncivil arrogance with flashes of sweet tenderness...

The film (definitely worth seeing) is extremely poignant and captivating... The direction is excellent and the action moves very smoothly, never allowing you to relax...


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