Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Paul Newman was always regarded as a fine actor, but many believed he truly blossomed in his later years. His performance in Richard Brook's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from 1958 as Brick Pollitt would serve as a counterpoint to this argument. In this adaptation of Tennessee Williams' controversial play, Newman brings all the ferocity and nuance necessary to play the role of the troubled young man. In the film, Brick's wife Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor) is desperate for a baby, by Brick is too depressed with the loss of his football career as well as the death of his friend to sleep with her. Meanwhile the rest of the family has heard that Big Daddy is sick and is after his millions. Big Daddy, wonderfully played by Burl Ives, is no dummy and wants to give his fortune to Brick, but won't entrust it to an impotent alcoholic. What ensues is wonderful southern dialogue in what is mostly argument. Brooks does his best to bring the controversy to the screen, even though it is subdued. The result is a fine screen adaptation showcasing some of the finest actors of its era.