Suddenly, Last Summer

The morbid conceit to SIFF's "In Remembrance" series of double-features is to honor filmmakers and stars who died during this nearly concluded year. Tonight's subject is Elizabeth Taylor, who stars in both Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (at 6:30 p.m.) and 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. 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, do you hear me?!? NOT GAY!—by having her lobotomized. Montgomery Clift is the shrink brought in to evaluate Taylor's coy, alluring patient. Predictably, he begins to fall for her while battling Hepburn's mom-ster, 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. Others honored in the series, running Dec. 12-22, include Sidney Lumet, Peter Falk, and Pete Postlethwaite. (PG) BRIAN MILLER

Tue., Dec. 13, 8:45 p.m., 2011

 
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