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The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008) - Tennessee Williams's long-forgot ..


CelluloidKid
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After waiting almost two years to see: _The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond_ (2008) based on Tennessee Williams's long-forgotten 1957 screenplay ...It finally came to DVD for rental ....& I was impressed!

 

Anyone else here of this film, or heard of Mr. William's long-forgotten 1957 screenplay!?

 

"The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond" -

 

Widely considered the most important American playwright of the post-WWII era, Tennessee Williams wrote the "The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond" screenplay at the height of his late-50's heyday, amid such classic plays, (which themselves were adapted into classic films) as "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Suddenly, Last Summer," "Sweet Bird of Youth," and "Orpheus Descending."

 

Set in the Roaring Twenties in Williams' home town of Memphis, the film tells the story of Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) a headstrong young heiress who chafes under the constraints of proper Southern society, and who rebels by asking the impoverished but handsome son of her father's caretaker, Jimmy Dobyne, (Chris Evans) to escort her to the major social events of the season. The relationship is purely a business arrangement at the outset, with Fisher paying for Jimmy's time and attention, but when she discovers that she really loves him, she finds it impossible to rewrite the rules and earn the affection she tried to buy.

 

 

 

 

 

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There just might be a bit of incoherent feeling or even a shadowy blend of mediocrity surrounding the history of the lost 1957, Tennessee Williams screenplay that for the most part, never ever taken so seriously. The way this idea for the screenplay came about, had its origins mixed up between that period Tennessee wrote his big stage success, ?Cat On A Hot Tin Roof? and then that other sort of confused, perplexing screenplay, based on an earlier one act play, ?Baby Doll.?

 

Most historians seem to agree that Tennessee didn?t really have any strong connection or relationship to his concept in attempting what for some was nothing more than an overblown, melodramatic tragedy. The basis for this screenplay seemed caught in imagery and style to the various earlier successes of Tennessee that spoke so fluently and elegant to what was conceived as an artistic expression of the Southern American life and its inhabitants.

 

This time up, Tennessee wanted to display something of a class division and how this distinction between rich and poor affected his world of the ?Deep South.? In understanding what might have gone wrong with ?The Loss of the Teardrop Diamond,? might have its research drawn into the simple fact that there was nothing so artistically traumatic about the story. The close friends of Tennessee who came to know of the story or screenplay, found it rather dull and without much in the way of conveying the usual social and moral questions his writings had a way of symbolizing.

 

It?s likely that Tennessee probably heard some tall-tale or local legend that led to his interest in creating ?The Loss of the Teardrop Diamond.? It?s believed that the screenplay would have been the next project to be considered by the author?s close friend and collaborator, director Elia Kazan. Both the writer and director had come off a bad time with the mess and chaos that resulted from the 1956 film ?Baby Doll.? No doubt, the mixed response and controversy created by what was once a comedy turned into a dismal, adult drama didn?t fare so well with adding enlightenment to the reputation of both Tennessee and Kazan. The two parted company, never to work again.

 

Instead of Kazan considering a possible try to film ?The Loss of the Teardrop Diamond,? he opted instead to make ?A Face in The Crowd.? Tennessee could only then pass the manuscript around, resulting in no-takers. This was especially the case, when it was announced that his most recent big stage success, ?Cat on A Hot Tin Roof? would see a transformation to the screen and not what Tennessee had hoped or thought would be a more sophisticated story with ?The Loss of the Teardrop Diamond.? Later on came ?Suddenly Last Summer,? that was more acceptable or closer to the whole Tennessee Williams aura and style that audiences had come to expect. Yet, for all the success Tennessee was having on Broadway and the movies, he couldn?t make anything happen for his misplaced screenplay.

 

Well, after 52 years and a bit of curiosity, Tennessee?s screenplay, finally found some interest last year. However, just as was foretold and felt by the friends of Tennessee so many years ago, last year?s production of the story was a bust! Even with a little respectable publicity, when the movie made it to a few film festivals, it simply died a quick death. Right away, the movie was in big trouble, despite what appeared to be a first rate cast and production team supporting the whole venture. In New York, where the film should have received a fair amount of attention, it got shoved aside and nudged into what was nothing more than a limited engagement in less than a dozen or so theaters. This marked doom for the movie and perhaps everything Tennessee would have hoped for.

 

The critics were not kind to this film. It was insulted and jeered for being pretentiously pointless and with little in the form of any clear course towards artistic thought. What?s funny about the movie and it might have made a difference in terms of its box-office appeal was that actress and public troublemaker, Lindsay Logan was supposed to play the lead! With too many issues under her plate, Lindsay had to bow out and this brought on the rather obscure, but seasoned actress of recent emerging popularity, Bryce Dallas Howard. This actress is now a part of ?The Twilight Saga.? She certainly comes from good-stock, being that her father is actor and Academy Award winning director Ron Howard. It was probably hoped that the Tennessee Williams story or film would have given Miss Howard?s career some extra dramatic leverage, but the failure of ?The Loss of the Teardrop Diamond? will end in a situation that she likely wants to forget. The whole idea in making this film seemed pointed at Academy Award time! Well, if this be the case, then somebody?s head will have to be sacrificed!

 

How strange all of this turned out especially for the fine cast members. A few in their own right are considered legends and of the highest artistic caliber of dramatic acting. Miss Howard didn?t generate any of the past excitement and interest other actresses had accomplished, when appearing in a Tennessee Williams project. There is now a pathetic history to this lost screenplay that may never be uplifted or vanish away from tarnishing, if not, trashing the reputation of Tennessee. As to what could have possibly gone wrong? Well, let?s just say that it was wrong from the very beginning, because Tennessee stepped out of his big league and ended up back in the minor league with this ill-fated screenplay.

 

One New York critic remarked, ?There is something phony about this tale and with no connection to the classic Tennessee Williams that poignantly graced the annals of American Theater and finally the movies.? Something is missing with ?The Loss of the Teardrop Diamond,? or maybe there was nothing really there all along to make it standout and possibly be a success. But then, a story that has no foundation to its creator is an exploit that has no place to go. It all turns out to be an exaggerated, wordy, overbearing experience towards no meaning, other than to simply be dramatically entertaining; this was a soap opera that went sour and instead, a TV movie should have been more likely. Tennessee was way above the average junk or melodrama that ?The Loss of the Teardrop Diamond? has come to represent. As I see it, Tennessee never belonged in ?the drawing rooms? of what he thought was high society. He was a passionate man, not one to be so fixed into a world he was never really a part of or could really fit into. My guess is that every now and then, some writers get a pretentious streak up their backs they can control and they begin to prey upon all the hype and fuss made over them.

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