Monday, February 2, 2015

Williams, Tennessee (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

I only recently saw this movie, and was worried that I wouldn't be able to read the play without seeing Taylor and Newman in my head the whole time. They lasted through the first act and then faded. Likely that is due to the nonsensical Hays Code making the movie an utterly different experience than reading the play.

It is fascinating to me that Williams was able to write such a loaded screenplay - most definitely and not obliquely about homosexuality - in the 1950s without serious repercussions. (Maybe there were some, but it is as lauded as it was when it came out - heck, it even won a Pulitzer.) I guess I would have expected it to at least do poorly at the theater, and there is no evidence of that. Did it strike a chord with viewers because of its vast spectra of themes? Not just homosexuality - but repression, death, dying, greed, lust, you name it.

My copy of this has two versions of the third act. If you have this in your copy, definitely read both versions (well, read one, and skim the other) after you've read Williams' description of why he changed it. Totally worth it to see how playwrights do what they do.

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