Suddenly Last Summer

So this has been a bit delayed, its mostly because I have been very lazy busy, but also because this holds the dubious honour of being my centennial post on every film I have rented .com, that is ten to the power of two for the more numerically minded, or a plain one with two zeros for normal humans, anyway, its a number which is usually celebrated with some sort of grand gesture like a cake or parade (we just went with finally getting a twitter account @EFIHR if you must know). So I thought I had better choose something really special to watch for this post. Deliberations were long and arduous. Should I choose something I love, or something I hate, something I have seen a million times before and could write short essays on or something completely new and crazy. Well here is what happened, I completely forgot about all of that and sat down and accidentally watched Suddenly Last Summer. Now I faced a real dilemma, I could pretend that it didn’t happen, write about Suddenly Last Summer in a few weeks after all the hubbub, the parade and the cake and the potentially Pulitzer prize winning piece about Batman, The Revenge of the Nerds, Taxi Driver or Sex Lives of the Potato Men (depending on which film choice approach I decided to take) dies down. This though would be wrong, it would fly in the face of all that every film I have is about – not that anywhere ‘what this is about’ is in any way clearly defined, but if anything it is for giving any film a chance, even if your friend told you it was crap, or the friend whose movie choice you really don’t trust told you it was good. So we come to Suddenly Last Summer. The case says its based on a one act play by Tennessee Williams. I can tell you that even without seeing said one act play that is almost certainly not much like it at all. For starters so much of the scenery in the film is chewed right up that were you to stage this as a play you’d have to rebuild the sets after every performance. Aside from the stony faced doctor the over-acting is this can be only described as extraordinary, I mean I know its fairly old and a bit of scenery chewing was usually top form back then, but this takes the biscuit. It is also slightly confusing in that it all revolves around (spoilers) a gay guy who no one actually gets around to calling gay – because of some silly old censorship folks it seems even mentioning the g word just wasn’t allowed. What is allowed though is that said gay guy gets savagely beaten to death then (if Liz Taylor is to be believed – and I am inclined to think she made the whole thing up just for some attention) eaten a little bit by some local boys he had previously been doing thinly veiled sexy times with. Quite why they decide that they are no longer inclined towards said sexy times in favour of cannibalism is not really explained. The whole thing raises a lot of questions about quite what was going on in Williams’ head when he wrote it. Some have suggested it was an attempt to deal with his self loathing of his own homosexuality – which really makes the whole film feel rather sad, because rather than deal with it he just has the gay guy die after ballsing up everyone else life. The thing is though is that the ballsing up of everyone’s life rather occurs when he has died and they are trying to cover up the fact that he is gay, everyone thought he was pretty fantastic by all accounts when he was alive – in reality precisely every bad thing which happens in the film could be avoided if everyone just got over it already. I would suggest going to see the original play, there is a lot to think about here (I have not even mentioned lobotomies) and that could probably be much better achieved without all the other silliness going on in this film. Finally – there is a plant in this film which is purported to be a Venus fly trap. It isn’t.


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