Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cinema, Cinema!

Nope - not that rather awful perfume called Cinema launched by YSL last year, but I have to write about a film I watched again last night by one of my all time favourite directors - the late John Huston.


I wanted to see something "good" late last evening and even though I know many of Tennessee Williams' play to film adaptations have depressed a fair number of people - I absolutely adore them - my other favs include Cat on a hot tin roof, A Streetcar named Desire, etc.. Mind you, these are not movies you want to watch when you feel disinclined to think and want rather light entertainment or even some fast paced action films. I tend to watch these films when I have time to enjoy films at one go and I want to watch and re-watch actors whom I respect greatly. In a nutshell - you have to be in the right mood to see enjoy the beauty of the film.

My movie of this week has to be The Night of the Iguana.

A bit about the play (source at the end):

Tennessee Williams's The Night of the Iguana is the last of the distinguished American playwright's major artistic, critical, and box office successes. First performed on December 28, 1961, on Broadway in the Royale Theatre, The Night of the Iguana won Williams his fourth New York Drama Critics Award. Like other plays by Williams, The Night of the Iguana focuses on sexual relationships and odd characters, including one crippled by his desires, the Reverend Shannon. Indeed, in retrospect, many critics see The Night of the Iguana as the link between stylistic eras (early/middle to late) for Williams. They argue that Williams reveals more of himself in this play than his previous work. Indeed, unlike many of Williams's plays The Night of the Iguana ends on a positive, hopeful note. However, some contemporary critics of the original Broadway production found the play lacking form and derivative of Williams's earlier successes, such as A Streetcar Named Desire. There has also been a lingering controversy over what the iguana, mentioned in the title, represents. The iguana, which spends most of the play tied up on the edge of the veranda, is seen as a symbol for a number of things, including freedom, what it means to be human, and Shannon. As an unnamed critic in Time magazine wrote, ''Purists of the craft may object that, strictly speaking, The Night of the Iguana does not go anywhere. In the deepest sense, it does not need to. It is already there, at the moving, tormented heart of the human condition." (source www.enotes.com)

The film:

Going back to the film - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058404/
It is possibly one of Richard Burton's best performances where I felt he really did justice to his reputation as a powerful actor. I have possibly seen most of his films - (some OK, some good and some brilliant) and I found him truly fascinating as a young cinephile (not only because of his numerous marriages to Elizabeth Taylor). I wish I had seen him in the Theatre as Hamlet or any other plays - but then maybe I have in my last birth!

If you have not seen this film, I would strongly urge you to see it when you can. To add to Burton's magnetism as a defrocked clergyman - there are the two wonderful actresses of all time Ava Gardner http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001257/
and Deborah Kerr http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000039/.
Deborah Kerr is stunning as always and plays a sensitive Hannah Jelkes and Ava creates such an impact as the rather flamboyant Maxine Faulk - right through the film you are drawn to these characters and you wonder what makes them tick etc. It is also a perfectly cast film. Not a believer of spoilers at all - so I suggest you see this if you have not.

If you have seen this and I am sure many of you have - I would love to know what you think of this masterpiece.

I keep meaning to see this! When we honeymooned in Puerto Vallarta, every single piece of tourist literature mentioned this film, which was credited with creating the city's entire tourism industry.
You must T - you will find it hilarious and rather poignant too.
I saw a documentary on the making of this a few years ago and it was fascinating. :)
Darling N, I also have been meaning to rent it. That's it! Your review made me want to rush to Netflix and add it to my queue of movies. I will let you know what I think. Thank you for this wonderful review!
Darling V - you will really enjoy it - I hope you like it as much as I did.

I'm more of a "Streetcar" person (you know I love Vivien Leigh, and the combination of her with Brando was pure cinematic dynamite), but will have to watch this film again. Clearly Burton was one of the most powerful actors of his generation, bar none.

I agree darling Robin that Burton was a really powerful actor. Night of the Iguana was a tad melodramatic - like Streetcar and Cat on a hot tin roof. I love all three. Hope you are well.

Yet another movie I need to see!
Hope you enjoy it a lot! :)
Dear N., finally catching up with my blog reading and am delighted to find this! Burton's career is so frustrating; he was an amazing actor, had one of the most beautiful speaking voices in the history of movies, but he was always taking bad roles in lousy films. ITA that this is one of his best. Huston had some good stuff in his autobiography about filming this. He got a pretty good performance out of Ava too, who wasn't much of an actress. Kerr is great, so underrated! One thing you notice is that no one seems to have a bad word to say about her personally. She must have been a real lady, as they say in the States. :D
Hi F! I agree that Burton's agent should have been a smarter agent and chosen much better roles for him. His voice, diction etc. can be described as dreamy! I quite like Ava Gardner but adore Kerr. She was a real lady! ;)
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