Customer Reviews


26 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You�ll never forget Katharine Hepburn�s voice
An adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play, this film is a clash of two characters, the rich widow Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn) and her niece (Elizabeth Taylor) over what happened to Sebastian, the son of the older woman when on holiday in Spain with his cousin. If nothing else this film is worth for Katharine Hepburn alone. She gives one of the performances of her...
Published on 3 Feb. 2005 by Miguel M. Santos

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incredible acting very poor film quality
This movie is totally compelling. Why Elizabeth Taylor did not receive an Oscar is beyond me, she is rivetting!

However, the quality of the film is extremely bad, jerky and distracting.

Very bad quality.
Published on 10 Nov. 2011 by Linda Lord-Hogan


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You�ll never forget Katharine Hepburn�s voice, 3 Feb. 2005
By 
Miguel M. Santos "miguelmsantos" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
An adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play, this film is a clash of two characters, the rich widow Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn) and her niece (Elizabeth Taylor) over what happened to Sebastian, the son of the older woman when on holiday in Spain with his cousin. If nothing else this film is worth for Katharine Hepburn alone. She gives one of the performances of her career (and one for which she got an Oscar nomination), even before she appears on the screen, her voice being heard as she descends in the lift - you'll never be able to forget it.
Quite daring for its time, I still find it a powerful story, and it ranks high among my favourites. The performances from the two ladies and Montgomery Clift and a strong direction from Joseph L. Mankiewicz have managed to avoid it to age, despite the topics it touches (homosexuality and mental illness). The DVD presents the film in a rather good copy, although not comparable to more recent black and white releases such as the restored "Casablanca", with some extras of no consequence.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PRIMAL PREDATOR ON A PRIMITIVE HUNT, 13 May 2009
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
when Joseph Mankiewicz decided to direct this autobiographical play by Tennessee Williams he should have been warned about all the thorns in the road to artistic consummation but despite all the obstacles he has succeeded in creating an extra-ordinary masterpiece which exceeds the original from Williams and is the first mature look by Hollywood mainstream on the taboo subjects of closeted homosexuality ,cannibalism ,paedophilia and the extremely controversial subject of therapeutic lobotomy .

the bizarre tale involves an extremely wealthy and patronising American widow violet Venables who is grieving her dead son Sebastian who died an alleged accident somewhere in the mediterranean on a vacation suddenly last summer ,while accompanied by his gorgeous young cousin .
Mrs.Venables has hired a young neuro-surgeon with the sole purpose of having her distraught niece lobotomized for her incoherent and hysterical utterances regarding the circumstances of Sebastian's demise ,since she wants to protect her son's tarnished reputation which will be destroyed if the claims of her niece are regarded as the veritable truth .

the plot is almost borrowed from William's own life and GORE VIDAL rewrote the script where he gave the whole issue a very relevant and crucial tinge of truth while almost creating a literary script of immaculate superiority .

the sycophantic direction by Mr.Mankiewicz combined with the revolutionary musical score by BUXTON ORR ,the haunting black and white visuals by Jack Hildyard and the almost surreal art direction comprising the sequences from the exotic tropical house-garden of sebastian ,the lunatic asylum where the young woman is imprisoned and finally the harrowing sequences from the mediterranean seaside resort are ground breaking cinema .

Montgomery Clift as a the rather sceptical surgeon empathising with the hysterical but brilliantly neurotic Elizabeth Taylor in her first great performance on screen are hypnotic to watch ,particularly as taylor delivers her exquisitely penned dialogue with sheer contempt of any authority as if she is in a surge of passionately artistic creativity unparalleled in her latter life .

the Venables woman is played with a contempt for the rest of humanity by an enchantingly aloof yet elegantly chilling KATHERINE HEPBURN ,who will go to any length to protect her son's past reputation even if she has to destroy the lives of those close to him to annihilate the truth and her dramatic outbursts are nothing less than superb from the entry to exit in every minute detail as she dresses like a diva and walks her deadly walk leading the rest of cast like a predator out on a hunt and the calm venomous biiter grieving woman is one of hepburn's great achievements .

there are more memorable sequences here than in any dramatic adaptation of a stage play ever with Taylor and Hepburn vying in a state of art text book display of acting prowess and that alone makes this utterly memorable for eternity as great art and also a tribute to the writing expertise of gore Vidal and the master class execution by Mankiewicz particularly of the great predatory hunt through the streets of a sun drenched mediterranean town in the wordless final montage .

the fact the making is steeped in the most controversial shooting circumstances involving any movie ever made with Clift's homophobic persecution by the producer Sam Spiegel and Taylor's and Hepburn's on and off screen love -hate relationship while mutually protecting their mutual gay friend Montgomery clift on the sets has made this into a great legend which will be remembered as long as cinema is liked and it lives as an art form on planet earth itself .
The oddest thing is that sebastion the gay protagonist who is the focus of drama here is never shown in the movie and in a very inventive manner the dirctor has substituted his presence with the camera itself and that is a unique achievement in cinema .

script -GORE VIDAL
PLAYWRIGHT -TENNESSEE WILLIAM
MUSIC -BUXTON ORR
DIRECTOR -MANKIEWICZ
CAST -KATHERINE HEPBURN -MONTGOMERY CLIFT -ELIZABETH TAYLOR
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb dark and intriguing movie, 12 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
I really enjoyed this movie. The story is set in 1930s America where a very wealthy widow approaches a failing cash poor mental institution with an offer of new facilities and lots of cash provided that they lobotomise her Neice who has apparently gone completely nuts after witnessing the Widow's Son's death in Europe on vacation. From the start there is an air intrigue, that all is not what it seems, maybe there is more to Sabastian's death than meets the eye.

A great movie which unravels little by little and holds the audience's attention whilst it does. Very gothic in many of it's themes. The dvd was good quality and the extras were well worth watching. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What does Cathy know? What happened last summer?, 14 May 2006
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
"Suddenly Last Summer" (1959) is a strange, dark movie, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and based on a play written by Tennessee Williams. This film touches many subjects that where highly controversial at the time it was made, for example mental illness, homosexuality and cannibalism. Truth to be told, a lot is to be inferred, and not much is shown. However, the fact that the characters hardly ever mention things that so obviously have to do with what happens makes those themes stand out even more.

The central question in this movie is, of course, "what happened last summer?", and the spectator will be immediately drawn into the mystery. Unfortunately for us, the only witness to what happened is Catherine Holly (Elizabeth Taylor), a beautiful and traumatized young woman who became mentally unbalanced after witnessing the death of her cousin Sebastian Venable. Her aunt, wealthy Mrs. Violet Venable (Katharine Hepburn), thinks that Catherine should be lobotomized. That is the reason why she urges neurosurgeon Dr. John Cukrowicz (Montgomery Clift) to perform the operation. However, Dr. Cukrowicz believes that his patient may not be mad, after all, and that Mrs. Violet Venable might want the lobotomy in order to destroy Catherine's mind. But what does Cathy know? What happened last summer?

On the whole, I think that you will like this movie, if you don't mind the somber tone that pervades it. Recommended!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Talk is never cheap when sourced from Tennessee Williams., 4 July 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Millionairess, Violet Venable is obsessed with her now dead son, Sebastian. Sebastian met his untimely end whilst on vacation with his cousin Catharine, an end that has sent Catharine almost to the edge of insanity. Violet, very concerned about Catharine and her hurtful ramblings, enlists brain surgeon Dr Cukrowicz to see if he will perform a lobotomy on the poor girl, but as Cukrowicz digs deeper, motives and facts come crashing together to reveal something far more worrying.

As one expects from a Tennessee Williams adaptation, this picture is very talky, perhaps borderline annoyingly so? Yet it has to be said that for those willing to invest the time with it, the pay off is well worth the wait. Suddenly Last Summer is an odd mix of campy melodrama and Gothic horror leanings, a mix that personally doesn't quite hit all the intended spots. It could have been so different, tho, for if Gore Vidal and Joseph Mankiewicz had been given free rein back in this day of code restrictions, well the picture would surely have been close to masterpiece status. This adaptation only gives us little snippets on which to feed, we are aware of the homosexuality of the departed Sebastian, and other hints that come our way include incest, sadism and dubious class issues, but ultimately such strong material is never fully formed.

Elizabeth Taylor owns the picture as Catharine, sultry with heaving bosom, she does an excellent line in borderline nut case, all woe is me martyrdom and her final scenes are what pays the viewer off for their patience. Katharine Hepburn plays Violet and manages to chew the scenery and spit it out, it's an elegant performance but you really want more than we actually get! Montgomery Clift is the good doctor, not one of his better performances because he isn't asked to expand the character, just say his lines right, look baleful from time to time and play off Taylor's lead, job done really.

It's a recommended film to a degree, certainly one that simmers with an almost oppressive feel, but if the film is one to revisit often? Well that's up for debate and dependant on the viewer's inclination towards dialogue driven film's. 7/10
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good example of Southern Gothic in cinema, 25 Dec. 2007
By 
Nobody (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
"Suddenly, Last Summer" was adapted by Gore Vidal from the one-act Southern Gothic play by Tennessee Williams. Southern Gothic is a genre of American writing which appeared after the civil war which choose to maintain the atmosphere of gothic writing but focus modern social concerns such as race, gender and sexual orientation. Southern writers such as Harper Lee, William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams all fall into this category. "Suddenly, Last Summer" deals with the issues of homosexuality and the attempts of Violet Venable (Katherine Hepburn) to cover up her sons homosexuality to point of trying to get her niece, Catherine Holly (Elizabeth Taylor), lobotomised in order to prevent her from talking. Due to the production code of the period explicit references to homosexuality had to be implied and not spoken of directly which in a dialogue driven film can be difficult. Its not really until the end when Catherine states that women as companions were used for "procurement" does this become apparent.

Katherine Hepburn's character for me felt out-of-character in relation to her real life persona which I found at times difficult to reconcile although it was a great performance. Montgomery Clift's performance is good but really the star for me was Elizabeth Taylor who is wonderful however difficult it is to believe that she could be duped by Sebastian's motives. I would certainly recommend this film to fans of hers. It is a dark and creepy psychologically driven film although by no means a horror picture. For a further example of southern gothic see "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951, Kazan).

Directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1946; A Letter to Three Wives, 1949; All About Eve, 1950)

Cinematography: Jack Hildyard (Henry V, 1944; The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Southern Gothic!, 15 Jan. 2003
By 
J. N. Valente "jnscav" (Evora, Portugal) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This being 1959, Williams' centerpiece theme of homosexuality is trimmed down (but not that much) even though cannibalism, madness, incest and decadence are only too obvious. The one plot contrivance that doesn't seem to work or convince is the romantic one involving Elizabeth Taylor's and Montgomery Clift's characters.
Other than that, she conveys her disturbance and rape trauma exceptionally well and Hepburn is out of this world in her adoration for her lost son while at the same time refusing to face the cause of his death, her role in his life, and God's in our all own's.
Despite all the problems surrounding the shooting of the film, this is one of those films just one step short of a minorpiece. No mean feat...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A drama dealing with the impact of Taboo subjects., 7 July 2011
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 American film based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams. The story centers on a 1930s psychiatrist who is assessing a female patient who, by the hand of her wealthy aunt , is a possible lobotomy patient after witnessing the mysterious death of her male cousin while traveling in Spain the previous summer.

Set in 1937 Catherine (Elizabeth Taylor) has been inside a mental hospital since her return from Europe. Mrs. Venable (Katherine Hepburn) her wealthy aunt meets with Dr. Cuckrowicz (Montgomery Clift) to discuss her niece's case, recounting her vacations with her son Sebastian to the Encantadas. Catherine is moved into the State Hospital where Cukrowicz works and she is observed there.

The story unfolds dealing with the taboo of homosexuality in the 1930s and of the disturbing and tragic events of Catherine's last Summer with Sebastian.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars swimsuit!, 1 Nov. 2013
By 
lynn babington (halesowen, west midlands United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
The scene on the beach with Taylor in the white swimsuit deserves 5 stars!! should have been an oscar for 'best supporting bosoms'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly melodramatic Tennessee Williams drama, 12 Nov. 2007
By 
Amazon Customer (Bournemouth UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor dominate this film with acting that matches the gothic darkness of the plot where Violet Venable (Hepburn) tries to have Catherine Holly (Taylor) operated on for a frontal lobotomy to erase her memories of what happened last summer to Mrs Venables playboy son Sebastian (an absent role).

Due to censorship restrictions in 1959 the disturbing nature of the plot can only be dealt with obliquely, resulting in embarrassing histrionics by current standards.

However this is very fine acting by Hepburn and Taylor and good production of the time, and we should not be too hard on Montgomery Clift for a below par performance as he was recovering from a car accident.

An important film of its time that is well worth viewing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002]
Suddenly Last Summer [DVD] [2002] by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (DVD - 2002)
£4.85
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews