After a run of 694 performances on Broadway during the 1955-1956 season, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof made it to the big screen in 1958, just in time for Elizabeth Taylor to get her second Best Actress Oscar nomination in two years. The film was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike and it received five additional Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (Paul Newman); Best Director (Richard Brooks); Best Writing; Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Richard Brooks and James Poe); and Best Cinematography – Color (William Daniels).
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is truly an actor’s movie, and it is one of those rare films where every single actor is perfect.
Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor are both brilliant as Brick and Maggie. Not very often is there a screen couple that have the same chemistry together that they do. And those eyes! It is hard to say which of them had the most captivating eyes. Taylor and Newman were more than extraordinarily beautiful. She was an amazing actress, and he is arguably one of the greatest actors of all time. The relationship between Brick and Maggie is fascinating; full of confusion, betrayal, honesty, dishonesty, love, desire, and trust.
As Big Daddy, Burl Ives gives one of the best performances of his exceptional career. Jack Carson, Madeleine Sherwood, and Judith Anderson round out the cast as Gooper, Mae (Sister Woman), and Big Momma, and all deliver performances that are astoundingly memorable.
Tennessee Williams was reportedly unhappy with the screenplay, which removed almost all of the homosexual themes and diminished the original play’s critique of homophobia and sexism. But it is important to remember that the play and the film are two separate entities. The film is an adaptation, and they are not meant to be the same. They should be judged each on their own merit!
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is one of the great pieces of 20th century American literature and cinema. It has some universal lessons we could all profit by in viewing it.
Managing Artistic Director
Next month, on Monday, March 20th, we bring Mr. Holland’s Opus back to the big screen. Friends, bring tissues.
Glenn Holland is a composer who wants to write the great American symphony. Instead he grinds out a career teaching high school music for decades to children of widely varying attitude and aptitude, while fighting his administration for funding and appreciation.
At home he’d love nothing more than to share his love of music with his only child, but tragedy strikes and his son is born deaf. Along with this heartbreak, Holland’s stubbornness causes him to estrange himself from the boy for years.
Michael Kamen was so moved by his experience composing for this movie that afterward he founded the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (www.mhopus.org) to “[keep] music alive in our schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs nationwide.”
Richard Dreyfuss gives us yet another Oscar and Golden Globe nominated performance in this modern family classic, with an ending evocative of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Please join me on Monday, March 20th for the feel-good movie of 1995. I’m not crying – you are!
“I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn’t have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too.” – Jefferson Smith
Waukesha Civic Theatre’s next PIX Flix presentation is Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, starring James Stewart, Claude Rains, and Jean Arthur, and directed by Frank Capra.
“Aah, he’ll never get started. I’ll make public opinion out there within five hours! I’ve done it all my life. I’ll blacken this punk so that he’ll – You leave public opinion to me. Now, Joe, I think you’d better go back into the Senate and keep those Senators lined up.” – Jim Taylor
When it premiered in 1939, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington was a widely celebrated, highly controversial film. The story of idealistic everyman Jefferson Smith, who is temporarily appointed to the United States Senate only to find it filled with corruption, has inspired audiences for over seventy-five years.
“You can’t count on people voting, half the time they don’t vote, anyway.” – Senator Joseph Paine
Politics may seem inescapable at times, but this film still speaks to audiences today. Neither the Republican nor Democrat parties are ever mentioned or even hinted at on screen, and at the time of its release, it was both lauded for its patriotism and decried as pro-communist and anti-American. Washington insiders hated it, but fascist states in Europe banned it for fear that it showed that democracy worked.
“This is the most titanic battle of modern times. A David without even a slingshot rises to do battle against the mighty Goliath, the Taylor machine, allegedly crooked inside and out.” – Diz Moore
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, one of the great films of 1939 (a prestigious company that includes classics such as The Wizard Of Oz, Gone With The Wind, Stagecoach, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips), was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, ultimately winning for Best Original Story. It made the American Film Institute’s 100 Years … 100 Movies list, ranking at number 26, and it is widely considered one of Frank Capra’s best films.
“Because of just one, plain, simple rule: Love thy neighbor. And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust.” – Jefferson Smith
For only $5, join us at 6:30 on Monday, November 7th for this classic American film. And don’t forget to vote!
“For what we are about to see next, we must enter quietly into the realm of genius.” – Dr. Frederick Frankenstein
Young Frankenstein is our third PIX Flix in our 60th season! Gene Wilder called this his favorite of all the films he made. Join us as we celebrate his legacy! Get in the Halloween spirit by joining us for this spoof of Mary Shelley’s classic tale on October 10th at 6:30 pm! Tickets are $5 for everyone – you won’t find a better deal than that!
As in all his roles, Gene Wilder lent a certain genius to this film. Playing the grandson of the legendary Dr. Frankenstein, he sets out to explore his grandfather’s castle and writings. While trying to prove that he is not as crazy as people think he is, he discovers the secret to reanimate the dead. What follows is a treat you won’t want to miss!
When Mel Brooks was preparing this film, he found that Ken Strickfaden, who had made the elaborate electrical machinery for the lab sequences in the Universal Frankenstein films, was still alive and in the Los Angeles area. Brooks visited Strickfaden and found that he had saved all the equipment and stored it in his garage. Brooks made a deal to rent the equipment for his film and gave Strickfaden the screen credit he’d deserved, but hadn’t gotten, for the original films. –IMDb
The film has been critically acclaimed. Among other nominations and awards, Young Frankenstein was nominated for two Oscars, a Golden Globe, and a Writers Guild of America Award in 1975. It won a Golden Scroll from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films, USA in 1976. And as of 2016, it’s been inducted into the OFTA Film Hall Of Fame.
For only $5, join us on October 10th to celebrate the legacy of Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks, the Halloween season, and our 60th anniversary all at once! See you at the PIX!
WCT Board Secretary