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Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery, Thriller | January 1960 (USA)
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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.

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(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Patricia Marmont ...
Nurse Benson
Joan Young ...
Sister Felicity
Maria Britneva ...
Lucy
Sheila Robbins ...
Dr. Hockstader's Secretary
David Cameron ...
Young Blonde Interne
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Storyline

A wealthy harridan, Violet Venable, attempts to bribe Dr. Cukrowicz, a young psycho-surgeon from a New Orleans mental hospital that is desperately in need of funds, into lobotomizing her niece, Catherine Holly. Violet wants the operation performed in order to prevent Catherine from defiling the memory of her son, the poet Sebastian. Catherine has been babbling obscenely about Sebastian's mysterious death that she witnessed while on holiday together in Spain the previous summer. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS shocks you again as he transports you to a STRANGE, NEW BOLD WORLD! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

January 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Plötzlich im letzten Sommer  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,897,500
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter O'Toole did a disastrous screen test. In fact it went so badly, when O'Toole was in the running for the lead in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), producer Sam Spiegel (who had produced "Suddenly..." and was producing "Lawrence...") didn't want anything to do with O'Toole again. See more »

Goofs

The doctor's hands change position when he tells Hockstader that he needs more time. See more »

Quotes

Catherine Holly: [being sedated] Who was it that said we were all a bunch of kindergarteners trying to spell God's name with the wrong alphabet blocks?
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Connections

Version of Great Performances: Suddenly, Last Summer (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the better film versions of a Williams classic
2 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

Film versions of Tennessee Williams great plays can be a little frustrating, especially for those of us lucky enough to have seen a fine production of the play on stage. I saw a fine production of this piece in London in 1999, with Sheila Gish as Mrs Venable, Rachel Weisz as Catherine and Gerard Butler as Doctor Cukrowicz.

But this film version is actually extremely good. The cast more or less speaks for itself. Katherine Hepburn is not quite as repulsive as I imagine Mrs Venable to have become, but this is a movie version after all and somehow Katherine Hepburn seemed to become increasingly ghastly as the movie goes on - strong work on her part and the Director's part I shouldn't wonder. Taylor and Clift are predictably good.

Most Tennessee William's plays had their endings tampered with for Hollywood and this piece is no exception. However, there is only a subtle difference between the ending of the film and the ending of the play, unlike the cringe-inducing changes to some ("Streetcar" and "Cat" being the main offenders).

This is not William's best-known piece, but it is one of my favourites and this film version also slots in right up there with the very, very best.

Well worth seeing, is this.


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