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
Drifter Chance Wayne returns to his hometown after many years of trying to make it in the movies. Arriving with him is a faded film star he picked up along the way, Alexandra Del Lago. ... See full summary »
The family of "Big Daddy" Pollitt convenes at his and Big Momma's vast 28,000 acre East Mississippi plantation for his sixty-fifth birthday, although it may as well be for his funeral on the belief that he is dying. Despite his latest medical report being clean, in reality he truly does have terminal colon cancer, something the doctor only tells Big Daddy's two sons, Gooper Pollitt, a lawyer, and Brick Pollitt, who recently left his job as a sportscaster. Brooding Brick and his wife Maggie Pollitt, who have driven up from New Orleans for the occasion, are going through a long rough patch in their marriage. Brick wanted to split, but Maggie convinced him to stay married on the condition that she not pressure him for sex. In their troubles, Brick has turned to the bottle, leading to a drunken incident which has left Brick currently on crutches. Maggie believes Gooper and his wife Mae Pollitt are trying to orchestrate Brick out of Big Daddy's will. Brick and Maggie's saving grace is Big ... Written by
When Maggie is arriving at the birthday party, she is assaulted by her niece who throws ice cream at Maggie's legs. Maggie scoops up a teaspoonful of the mess from her legs, with the intent of smearing it in the child's face. When she reaches the child, the tiny amount of ice cream she holds has grown to considerably more than a pint. See more »
Sultry and downbeat, this Richard Brooks directed film is set at a
Southern plantation where a dysfunctional family celebrates the 65th
birthday of family patriarch Big Daddy (Burl Ives), a portly man whose
health, or the lack of it, is very much on the minds of all the family
members. The story centers on one of Big Daddy's two sons, a brooding
young man named Brick (Paul Newman) and his childless wife Maggie
Brick is reticent and repressed for reasons unknown, and finds relief
in alcohol. Beautiful Maggie is concerned that Brick's indifference to
Big Daddy may cost them their share of the family inheritance, at the
hands of Brick's brother and scheming sister-in-law. Adding fuel to the
fire is Brick's prepubescent nieces and nephews, in-your-face brats,
whom Maggie refers to, not kindly, as little "no-neck" monsters. Big
Momma (Judith Anderson) just wants Big Daddy to be physically well, and
for everyone to get along.
Of course, with a big inheritance on the line, tension erupts, first
between Brick and Maggie, then later between them and everyone else. As
the tension mounts, arguments erupt into a real down-home Southern soap
The film's script is heavy on dialogue. But because of the story's
thematic depth, the issues are interesting and insightful, and the
script never seems talky. At the heart of the story is the subject of
mendacity, of lies and not telling the truth. There is considerable
emotional pain, expressed as anger, resentment, and sarcasm. The story,
originated by Tennessee Williams, goes against its era, in that it
contradicts the virtues of traditional family values and capitalism.
Casting and acting are quite good. But Burl Ives' performance is
wonderful, and alone makes the film worth watching. Color
cinematography is conventional. It's a slow-paced film with long camera
"takes". Sets and production design are lavish.
Because the dreadful Hays Code censored much of the thematic content in
1958, the film's conclusion is weak and does not justify Brick's
emotional state. This is not a criticism of the film, but of the Hays
Code itself which, mercifully, was abolished in the 1960s.
Dripping with Southern atmosphere, and with a sultry jazz score, "Cat
On A Hot Tin Roof" is a terrific movie, for its thematic value, its
cast, and the splendid performance of Burl Ives.
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