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.
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
George and Martha are a middle aged married couple, whose charged relationship is defined by vitriolic verbal battles, which underlies what seems like an emotional dependence upon each other. This verbal abuse is fueled by an excessive consumption of alcohol. George being an associate History professor in a New Carthage university where Martha's father is the President adds an extra dimension to their relationship. Late one Saturday evening after a faculty mixer, Martha invites Nick and Honey, an ambitious young Biology professor new to the university and his mousy wife, over for a nightcap. As the evening progresses, Nick and Honey, plied with more alcohol, get caught up in George and Martha's games of needing to hurt each other and everyone around them. The ultimate abuse comes in the form of talk of George and Martha's unseen sixteen year old son, whose birthday is the following day.Written by
Thoroughly unpleasant...like a two-hour plus root canal without the Novocaine.
This is one of those special movies that manages to be good but unwatchable at the same time. In other words, while the script may be an accurate of the most unpleasant couple in history as they spend an evening entertaining some annoying guests, some (like me) might wonder why anyone would want to see this! For example, they could film a brilliantly executed heart transplant or the removal of giant parasitical worms from someone, but why watch it? To me, the film was just too painful to endure.
Liz Taylor and Richard Burton play a couple of drunks who are married and spend all their time destroying each other. Now, according to the film it's because of the death of their son but they would have been terrible people regardless--they truly despise each other and themselves. Then, as if an afterthought, some guests arrive and actually stay and watch as this couple destroy each other right in front of them. And so, the newcomers get drunk and the drunks get drunker. Wow...now THAT'S fun! Then, tongues loosen some more and a lot of unpleasantness results.
Sure, having worked with alcoholics I understand that Taylor and Burton did an excellent job here. But for a two-hour plus film it's an endurance contest I don't wish to do again. So the overall verdict is that it's well made but thoroughly awful. If you can endure and appreciate this, fine. But if you can't, don't feel like you must. Just because it's rated so highly on IMDb does not mean it's a "must-see"--especially because this film may well leave you feeling depressed and in need of a drink!
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