I first saw this film on Elizabeth Taylor day during the 2010 Summer under the Stars on TCM and I’ll admit I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. I was unsure why it was considered one of the greatest American movies. Then I saw it a second time, about six months later, on the big screen at the Egyptian Theatre during the TCM Film Festival in 2011 and suddenly I got it. That’s not to say it doesn’t necessarily translate well on the small screen (I’ve seen it many times since at home), but there was just something about seeing it on the big screen that made the magic come alive for me. I love this film so dearly and it is one I just cannot recommend enough. It was one AFI’s 100 Years. . .100 Movies list ranking at #92, but when they did their ten-year anniversary it fell of the list. It also ranked #53 on AFI’s 100 Years. . .100 Passions list. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning six. It lost Best Picture to An American in Paris, which was nominated for only eight Academy Awards, but won six as well. The only two awards An American In Paris lost (Director/Film Editing) were to A Place in the Sun, which was nominated for: Best B&W Cinematography (won), Best B&W Costume Design (won), Best Score (won), Best Screenplay (won), Best Film Editing (won), Best Actor Montgomery Clift, Best Actress Shelley Winters, Best Director (won) and Best Picture. The other films nominated that year were Decision Before Dawn, Quo Vadis, A Streetcar Named Desire and winner An American in Paris. This was also a strange year because three of the acting awards went to A Streetcar Named Desire (the fourth went Bogart in The African Queen). Also, if you look at the awards both A Place in the Sun and An American in Paris won, the only way they could have won them was because they were in separate categories (B&W vs. color, musical vs. not musical). This is part of why love looking at the older Academy Awards ceremonies; they have a fun evolutionary history.
Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: You know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof.
Brick Pollitt: Then jump off the roof, Maggie. Jump off it. Cats jump off roofs and land uninjured. Do it. Jump.
Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: Jump where? Into what?
Brick Pollitt: Take a lover.
Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt: I don’t deserve that.
I can’t remember life without Elizabeth Taylor. I’ve always loved her. I think for the longest time it was mostly because we both had brown hair and blue eyes (it’s amazing how powerful that kind of connection can be when you are six years old). Over the last year or so I have seen about 9 of her films (prior to that I think I’d seen five others) and I’ve grown to appreciate her talent. She was an amazing woman on and off the screen and she will be sorely missed.
I saw this for the first time about a month ago during TCM’s Summer Under The Stars and I was completely blown away by it. It’s compelling and perfectly shot, featuring some truly exquisite black-and-white cinematography. It sinks its hooks into you from the very beginning and doesn’t let up for a minute, ending with one of the most simultaneously heartbreaking and tender finales in cinematic history. It also features one of the greatest on-screen, as well as off-screen, couples, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, in some of their greatest work. It was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, winning five: Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score, Best Film Editing, Best B&W Costume Design (won), Best B&W Cinematography (won), Best B&W Art Direction (won), Best Supporting Actress Sandy Dennis (won), Best Supporting Actor George Segal, Best Actress Elizabeth Taylor (won), Best Actor Richard Burton, Best Director Mike Nichols and Best Picture. It was up against The Sand Pebbles, Alfie, The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! and winner A Man For All Seasons.
I actually watched 68 new-to-me movies in August altogether, which I believe is a record for me. 46 of them, however were on Turner Classic Movies’s Summer Under The Stars. There were several days where I watched between four and six films all in a row on TCM. There were even some days where in the midst of watching new-to-me films I watched some old favorites as well. I discovered at least one old film star I’d never known about and now love. I finally watched some essential classic films that had somehow escaped me up until now. I watched a few films that were pretty forgettable and I discovered some films that I will love forever. Overall, it was a wonderful journey of film immersion for someone who loves film down to her bones, and now I don’t know what do to with my life until next August.
This is one of my favorite classic films. It’s a masterful adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play of the same name. Like many a Williams play, it is hot and steamy and filled with tension. Richard Brooks is such an amazing director and he hits every note of the film perfectly. Somehow this masterpiece lost the Best Picture award to the overblown, boring musical adaptation Gigi. I watched Gigi recently I was aghast that it had won nine Oscars. I thought it was absolutely one of the most boring, overwrought films I’d ever seen. Then to add insult to injury I discovered it beat Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. This is definitely a case of pomp winning over substance. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof was nominated for six Academy Awards, but didn’t win a single one: Best Actor – Paul Newman, Best Actress Elizabeth Taylor, Best Color Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director – Richard Brooks and Best Picture. Aside from the two acting categories, it lost all the awards to Gigi. The other nominees for Best Picture that year were Auntie Mame, Separate Table and The Defiant Ones.