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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH (1962)

In this film adaptation, it's the original play, rather than the antihero, that gets emasculated. Tennessee Williams’ florid meller (prodigal son comes home & gets castrated!) was the sort of commercial success that fed off of his worst self-parodistic aspects, but it surely could have turned out better than this travesty from writer/helmer Richard Brooks. Never the most fluid or natural of directors (to put it nicely), Brooks brought off Williams ’ CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF/‘58, but what was slightly coarse or miscalculated there now becomes the basic platform. Geraldine Page, only a year older than co-star Paul Newman, can’t make sense of her part (who could?), and in an overbearing cast, only Rip Torn gets his effects without going all Southern Gothic on us.

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