Suddenly, Last Summer

The love that dare not speak its name--here, the love for Spanish rent boys on sandy beaches--deeply infuses this 1959 adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Elizabeth Taylor plays a young woman traumatized by the bizarre death of her cousin (at the hands of said rent boys). His horrid mother (Katharine Hepburn) wants to preserve his reputation--he was not gay! NOT GAY, do you hear me?!?--by having her lobotomized. Montgomery Clift is the shrink brought in to evaluate the coy, alluring patient. Predictably, he begins to fall for her while battling Hepburn's Southern Gothic matron, who demands, "You've got to cut this hideous story out of her brain!" Flashbacks to Spain show Taylor at her ripest, but the melodrama's mainly enjoyable for its queer subtext and Williams' teasing notions of truth. All his characters talk around the subject, half-aware that total sexual candor would destroy their polite society. Ten years later, the Stonewall Riots would do just that, by which time Williams' feverish dances of erotic repression had fallen out of favor. Appropriately, the film is being screened as part of Pride Week. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

June 24-30, 6:30 & 8:45 p.m.; Sat., June 25, 4 p.m.; Sun., June 26, 4 p.m., 2011

 
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