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At an exclusive boys' school, a new gym teacher is drawn into a feud between two older instructors, and he discovers that everything at the school is not quite as staid, tranquil and harmless as it seems.
Myrtle Kane and Jeb Thornton meet in the audience of a New Orleans based game show. On Myrtle's initiative, they are chosen as contestants on the show, on the host's assumption that they meet the required contestant profile: being a happy engaged couple. In order to win the special $3,500 cash prize from the show, they have to get married on the air, to which they both agree. The more exuberant Myrtle is the only surviving member of the Mobile Hot Shots, a five piece girls band from the city of the same name. She sees being married to Jeb just the next big adventure in her life. She does however truly begin to believe she loves him, or at least love the thought of being married. The outwardly more subdued Jeb wants to use his portion of the money to restore Waverley, his now run down family plantation located on the Mississippi River floodplain in Louisiana, to its former "Confederate" glory. He lives there reluctantly with his biracial half-brother Chicken, who he hates for not being...Written by
Based on an overlooked Tennessee Williams play ,also known as " kingdom on earth";it was not the first time Lumet had filmed a Williams work :"the fugitive kind" in 1960 was not particularly memorable ,a vehicle for the playwright's good friend Anna Magnani.
"Last of"...AKA "blood kin" is ,in spite of a poor rating,a more interesting adaptation :Lumet is at ease when he works in an enclosed place (see for that matter "twelve angry men" "murder on the orient express" "a dog day afternoon" "deathtrap").James Coburn is cast against type as the owner of a southern property which has known better days but the actress is not exactly how Williams depicted her in his play:"a poor man's Marilyn Monroe" .
There are only three characters but interest is sustained till the end with a final unexpected revelation a la "suddenly last Summer" .There are many flashbacks ,not unlike those of Brooks' "cat on a hot tin roof" and the beginning of the movie is a good trick ,a spoof on stupid contests .It was a cinematographic play with its impending flood and its neglected yard where the new wife lets her domestic appliances Interracial triangle in which the Myrtle/Chicken relationship sometimes recalls Blanche /Kowalski;the sexual tension is represented by the rise of waters ,and "to go up on the roof" means "to make love" in Williams' language (it's the last line of the play).
"The seven descents of Myrtle" ("kingdom on earth" ) is to be staged in Paris next September with pop singer Johnny Halliday as the terminally-ill owner,under the French title " LE Paradis Sur Terre".
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