What can I say, I just love this movie. Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives…just great. Yes, it is classic and sometimes it is hard to give an honest review of such a well loved film. But after seeing it as many times as I have I must say it is not completely, absolutely perfect.
One of the things that is missed is Tennessee Williams underlying story. The one of Brick’s struggle with his own sexuality. In 1958 the censors would not allow a homosexual sub-plot, even if it meant changing the entire story. If this movie was made today I am sure that Brick’s relationship with his dead buddy would have been pursued. But then do we have the actors today that could carry out what Paul Newman did in 1958? I doubt that.
Being dated, the movie is somewhat overplayed and overacted, especially from Madeline Sherwood who played Mae. Also Jack Carson’s portrayal of Brick’s older, yet unaccepted, brother Gooper could have had a little more depth to it. Not to mention the kids that played the no-neck monsters.
The cinematography was very good for 1958 and the direction of Richard Brooks, should have got him the Golden Boy, but it was not to be. Gigi won that year for Best Picture and Best Director with Vincente Minnelli. One of those mistakes that the Academy seems to do occasionally. Sadly one of the best performances of his career, Burl Ives was completely overlooked by the Academy.
Even though it is dated, it is still one of the best films ever to have graced the big screen. B+