Suddenly, Last Summer
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In this lush, lurid adaptation of the 1957 Tennessee Williams one-act, Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn play a seemingly insane, young New Orleans debutante and the wealthy aunt who wants to lobotomize her. Dr. John Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift) is a gifted Chicago brain surgeon stymied by the primitive operating conditions at the New Orleans asylum where he works. Society matron Violet Venable (Hepburn) offers a solution in the form of a million-dollar grant -- as long as Cukrowicz will treat her niece, Catherine (Taylor). Catherine, it seems, has been institutionalized since the sudden… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The main trouble with the picture is not its subject or its style, but its length."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"On film, with Taylor as the woman who saw something nasty and Clift as the psychiatrist trying to probe her trauma, the one-act material is stretched perilously thin; but it works for Hepburn as the incarnation of civilised depravity."
‑ , Time Out
"Superbly adapted with blistering performances from Taylor and Hepburn."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"Very controversial for its time, and still packs a wallop."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"Fine version of the story with Hepburn as a fascinating monster."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"The cast packs enough sexual ambiguity to satisfy the most rabid Williams fan (not to mention a screenplay by Gore Vidal), but Mankiewicz leaves much of the innuendo unexplored -- thankfully, perhaps."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The main trouble with this picture is that an idea that is good for not much more than a blackout is stretched to exhausting length and, for all its fine cast and big direction, it is badly, pretentiously played."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"A lurid adaptation of the 1957 Tennessee Williams one-act play."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Hepburn and Taylor both earned Oscar nominations for their work; it's hard to pick which turns in a more compelling performance."
‑ Christopher Null,
"The battles between the imperious Hepburn and the presumed-mad Taylor are pure theatricality, while sensitive shrink Clift observes it all and emotes."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"It has some very effective moments, but on the whole it fails to move."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"This bizarre and often distasteful movie at the end of the 1950s was an omen of things to come."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"By Tennessee Williams' standards, the text is trashy and overwroght, but at the time, homosexuality and cannibalism stirred such a controversy that the movie became one of the playwright's most successful Hollywood adaptations."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"A classic in every sense of the word."
‑ , Film4
"Somber, ground-breaking and fascinating."
‑ Tim Dirks, Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
More reviews for Suddenly, Last Summer on Rotten Tomatoes