12 April 2012

Suddenly, Last Summer

Oh man, Tennessee Williams plus Katherine Hepburn AND Elizabeth Taylor? Yes. Yes yes yes. This movie is fantastic. The acting is great, the story is totally bizarre, somewhat campy but also quite chilling, and the language is just gorgeous. There are these amazing monologues, laden with repetitions ("the debris, the debris") and bizarrely evocative imagery, culminating in these thundering crescendoes that absolutely take your breath away. De-lightful.

Intriguing to me, because I'm on a Gothic kick (ahem research project) was the Southern Gothic of it. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that while you kind of know that there must be some dark secret at the heart of it all, holy shit the primal scene in this is intense. I mean wow. I was also surprised by the blatant exotic primitivism the movie rallied; I kind of figured such things would be outré at that point, but apparently not. Also, the bizarre technology bit, as embodied by Katherine Hepburn's a-mazing elevator. That is a paper waiting to be written. God it's sublime.

My friend who I was watching it with noted how bizarre and interesting the fascination with psychoanalysis is, which is absolutely right. Actually, it makes me think; psychoanalysis and the Gothic obviously have a long-standing and rich connection, but how does it evolve with the changes in the field? I'm sure someone has written on this.

But thats the nerdier angle. The regular viewer (well, you do have to enjoy classic cinema, I suppose) will find plenty to delight in aside from all these intriguing theoretical issues. It's really a terrific film.

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