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"Suddenly Last Summer"


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It was mostly tongue in cheek, and you may be right that she

doesn't read anything from his poems. That will give me something

to look for next time I watch the movie. I got the impression that

she was the prime mover of a little intellectual circle and that she

thought Sebastian was a poetic genius, but I have my doubts.

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One must remember in trying to figure out anything in a Tennessee Williams' story, that well...all female figures are based on male figures ostensibly if there is an erotic element being discussed, being that this is what Tennessee knew in his personal life, hence he used that knowledge and just changed the character's sex in the tale.

 

I should know...my brother's schoolmate was the last lover of Tennessee Williams, though we don't talk about it much at grade school reunions...

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I'm not so sure how much of that is true. Williams vigorously denied that when he was alive, particularly of Blanche Dubois, though I can see how it could be interpreted that way in some of his characters......

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  • 2 weeks later...

With regards to: ...all female figures are based on male figures ostensibly if there is an erotic element being discussed,

 

While that concept may generally be true I don't see how it applies to Liz's character in SLS. Sebastian's goal was to attract young males. It is safe to assume most of the poor young males in the town are not gay. So the most effective bait for Sebastian is a women (with Liz in that white bathing suit being very effective bait). Once Liz lured them in money was used to close the deal.

 

I just don't see how this specific situation could of played out with different genders.

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Williams was a homosexual at a time when there were no gay rights. He could not write gay theme plays which might have lead him to write stronger female roles that could be interpreted closeted gay men- Blanche for example could be a gay man- attracted and destroyed by the hyper masculine Stanley.

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Oh of course I agree jamesjazzguitar as to Liz and her role in this film.

 

She does NOT represent a male in the iconography of Williams and his writings.

 

I was talking about that in settings with a romance between a male and female character, even like in the gentleman caller and Blue Roses bit, that it is based on a male to male scenario.

 

Sorry I did not make this more clear. Obviously Thomas Lanier knew woman as people in non-erotic instances and used them in his plays purely in that context.

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For all of you who cannot picture Katherine Hepburn as "bait", you need to realize men pretty much will look at anything, especially on a beach!

 

If you are tall, lithe and full of yourself as the Mrs Venerable charactor was, with some decent costuming (expensive bathing suit, large hat with flowing scarf, strappy sandals) along with a happy expression, flowing hair and walking with attitude, you can attract a throng of interested followers.

 

Doesn't really matter if you're pretty, just as long as you *think* you're pretty. Thinness generally is equated with youth, so no one really noticed her age until up close and then too late!

 

The major part of the story is Mrs Venerable's jealousy realizing she's so easily replaced by Liz's charactor, both in youth and closeness to Sebastian. She has zero empathy for any "victims" because it's all about her own vanity.

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I would place her somewhere on the bait/chum border And I can't really

see Vi getting into a bathing suit, and no matter how pretty you might

think you are, other people will be more objective. Now, she might have

attracted some lonely middle-aged beach stroller, but as far as the

younguns that I assume Sebastian was interested in, that would be a

very hard sell. Liz beats her by a factor of two.

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A few posts back it was explained that Violet use her mind as bait. I.e. that she used words, her intellect, art, music (I assume classical) and literature etc? The fish her bait would capture would be ones interested in these things.

 

When Sebastian had to use Liz as bait it was clear what Liz would use to lure the fish in. This type of bait attracted a more primal type of person. One more interested in the physical instead of the intellectual. This type is more likely to be violent. I can?t envision the type of fish Violet was catching doing to Sebastian what Liz?s catch did.

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I love that picture, tracey.

 

I find it interesting we are discussing the differences between Katherine Hepburn's beauty (tall, slim, firm) to Elizabeth Taylor's beauty (softer & rounder) in 2013 when the ideal beauty is the ultra tall gaunt model seen in media!

 

This could be an ad today:

th?id=H.4586321868819243&pid=15.1

 

Kate just didn't have a soft feminine attitude, which I love her for. I like Kate for the same reasons I like Lauren Bacall...

th?id=H.4625264335717052&pid=15.1

 

This is precisely why S,LS was so perfectly cast. Vi is an aging smart sophisticated beauty pushed aside by lusty/young/sweet Catherine -everything Vi isn't. Liz Taylor simply was the epitome of gorgeousness-especially in this movie.

 

PS just looked at the imdb page for this & saw Eddie Fisher was an uncredited street urchin-ew

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Tikisoo wrote:

*I love that picture, tracey.*

 

*I find it interesting we are discussing the differences between Katherine Hepburn's beauty (tall, slim, firm) to Elizabeth Taylor's beauty (softer & rounder) in 2013 when the ideal beauty is the ultra tall gaunt model seen in media!*

 

*This could be an ad today:*

 

Except she'd probably need a boob job...I think the "ideal" today is even more completely unrealistic than it's ever been. How many women as thin as Hepburn have breasts like Taylor without help? Not many.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't think 1959 audiences were less intelligent than today's audiences - to me what is surprising is that only a year earlier "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" pussyfooted (pun intended) completely around the topic of homosexuality, whereas SLS went for it full speed ahead. Maybe it was the nerve of Columbia (or the hope of making big bucks with taboo material - which they did - SLS was big box office) as opposed to timidity over at MGM - although Cat was also a big hit - which got the film made.

I don't think we can assume anything about why audiences flocked to see it - Elizabeth in a bathing suit, racy subject matter, big stars in the leads,Tennessee Williams etc. or all of the above.

 

Whatever the reason, I enjoy this crazy Gothic movie and the whole cast.

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I wonder how many left the theater disapointed or even upset because of the subject matter.

 

i.e. I can see why people would be drawn to it for the solid reasons you state but I can also see many having buyers remorse back in the 50s.

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